In an age of global climate change, people around the world are looking for ways to reduce their share of the some 15 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases emitted each year. In the United States, one of the top three polluters in the world, many Americans are looking into home energy solutions like energy efficient upgrades and solar installations. However, for some homeowners, the first question is “what is my carbon footprint, and what are the biggest contributing factors?” In this article we’ll answer the following questions:
What lifestyle choices influence carbon footprint?
How do I calculate my own carbon footprint?
What are the best ways to reduce carbon footprint?
Most of us are completely unaware of how the electricity we use is generated. We just put the plug in the outlet and forget about it. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where ignorance is definitely not bliss! Understanding where your power originates is crucial in an energy efficiency standpoint.
For anyone wondering where their energy comes from, the chart above displays the sources of our power usage nationwide and can offer insight about output sources. No surprise: the decisions that determine this mix are made by your utility company with their best interests in mind. Sources are chosen on the basis of factors such as cost, availability, and reliability of supply. That’s how coal came to fuel almost half of the U.S.’s electrical needs. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful and it’s relatively easy to mine. What didn’t factor into the utility’s decision were things like the environmental impact of their choices–costs not borne by them but by you, me, and the communities in which we live. Nonetheless, the recent ITC extension and Paris Agreement are two reasons pointing to an approaching overthrowal of fossil fuels by the renewable industry. Continue reading →