UNDERSTANDING WHAT GOES INTO A CARBON FOOTPRINT MEASUREMENT

by Ben Rummel May 26, 2014

A carbon footprint measurement is the yardstick by which we measure our impact on the world around us. The saying "for every action there is an equal reaction" holds true when it comes to the things we do and how they affect the earth.

Saying we leave “tons of CO2 footprints” as we make our way on our journey is not an understatement. Every breath we take and everything we do has an impact on something, no matter how small. Some footprints are stronger than others, while a few are so minimal they go unnoticed.

YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT WHEN YOU TRAVEL

Traveling is one of the biggest generators of carbon footprints on the planet. Traveling in vehicles that use fossil fuels generates massive amounts of emissions that are released into the air. This lowers our air quality and can even make it difficult to breathe for individuals with chronic upper respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

Auto emissions contain:

  • Nitrogen

  • Carbon dioxide

  • Hydrocarbons

If you choose to walk or ride a bicycle, the only footprints you leave behind are the rubber that wears off of the bottom of your shoes or tires and the air you expel through breathing. So neutralizing your carbon footprint means choosing activities that limit how you move about the world. When you have to use a vehicle to get where you're going, use one that is as fuel efficient as possible and keep it in good working order.

YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT IN YOUR HOME AND LIFESTYLE

The utilities you use to heat and light your home also leave carbon footprints. Cleaning chemicals, laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner and almost any other product you use in your home leaves some sort of imprint on the environment. Even candles that are burnt within the home can leave an imprint if the wicks used to make them are coated with any type of chemical. A complete energy assessment and environmental audit can provide you with a carbon footprint measurement to help you understand how your lifestyle affects your surroundings.

There are several chemicals found in cleaning supplies that can contribute to water pollution and soil contamination. A few of them include:

  • Propylene glycol

  • Ammonia

  • Detergents

  • Chlorine

  • Dyes and fragrances

EASY STEPS THAT WILL REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

You can help to reduce your carbon footprint in several ways. Having an energy audit, a review of the products you keep in your home, and a list of your daily activities can help you take an accurate carbon footprint measurement. This will show you just how much you affect the world around you and also show you areas within which you can improve.

There are several things you can do to help minimize the carbon footprint you leave behind as you go about your daily life. They include:

  • Walk when you can

  • Use natural cleansers and detergents

  • Buy energy efficient appliances

  • Turn off lights and appliances when you leave a room

  • Change your HVAC system filters often

  • Limit the amount of waste you produce

An accurate carbon footprint measurement can show you where your strengths are as well as your weaknesses. The measurement can identify appliances that may need to be replaced as well as show you areas where you can improve when it comes to saving energy and reducing the cost of your utilities.  

The key though is understanding what goes into your carboon footprint in the first place so you can decide what needs to change so you can help make a difference.




Ben Rummel
Ben Rummel

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