Most of the devices we use today make present life very helpful. Something as easy as a coffee maker, for example, allows us to make coffee almost immediately and as frequently as we wish. More seemingly impressive and bigger things, such as computers and cars, have dramatically modified our lives, making it simpler for us to gather data at the tap of a button or travel greater distances.
But although we possibly do not think about it each time we employ one of these devices, the ease most machines provide comes with a price, both economically and environmentally. Whenever we watch television, switch on a light, or drive to work, we are employing energy. To make most of this energy, we have to consume fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal, all of which emits CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the air. CO2 is one of the gases present in the greenhouse category, which catch heat in our atmosphere from the sun and add to the global warming—increasing temperatures all over the world.
In recent times, people have employed the “carbon footprint” term to loosely define the manner individuals make indirect and direct emissions of carbon. For this purposes, we will discuss about carbon footprints in terms of usage by the people. Hence, an individual’s carbon footprint is simply a calculation of how much CO2 somebody makes while performing daily errands.
CO2 emission is calculated in pounds, and the average output in the United States per person, as per the Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S., is 20,750 pounds annually. Certainly, everybody is different. But whether you are below, above, or at that average, it is still probable to lower your tech carbon footprint, and many individuals are taking actions to decrease it. This not only reduces the amount of gas entering the air but also offers us a bit of financial reassurance, since we save money by investing less in the energy.
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Measuring Carbon Footprints
To stay as accessible as achievable, most calculators for carbon ask very easy questions regarding the usage. They accept forecasts of yearly mileage or electricity usage rather than difficult-to-provide and exact totals.
Carbon calculators normally begin by asking where you live. Irrespective of your personal usage, your carbon footprint is partially decided by the area you reside in. Some states depend more on dirtier power sources such as coal; others employ larger amount of renewable energy sources that create negligible CO2.
Most calculators also want to know your household size. The calculator can then distinguish between your individual carbon footprint and that of the home all together.
To decide the percentage of CO2 created by electricity at home, the calculator divides the exact or estimated usage by the cost of power in the region. The calculator then multiplies this figure by the emissions factor of the state, a number that associates to the kind of energy the state employs. Calculators also consider in heating oil, natural gas, and propane employment.
Most calculators also consider the lower emissions of subscribers for green power. Some power firms let users the option to pay a little more on their bill to get a specific amount of power from renewable energy. This lowers the production of fossil-fueled power of the state and assists make a green industry.
Carbon footprints also comprise the CO2 created by transportation. Most individuals do not know their yearly fuel consumption, so calculators normally ask for a predictable yearly mileage and the car’s model, make, and year. It then divides mileage by the fuel efficiency of the car to decide yearly usage of fuel. This number is then multiplied by the emissions factor of diesel or gasoline fuel, which translates it to CO2 pounds.
Some carbon calculators for air travel ask for a yearly estimation of mileage. Other calculators mull over elevated emissions at the time of takeoff and ask for the amount of medium, short, extended, or long flights.
After calculating all the numbers, the calculator makes a complete output of CO2 in tons—a carbon footprint. Some calculators even place footprints in context by evaluating them with the global or national averages. If you have the information ready, the whole procedure the calculator takes is just 30 seconds.
But what action you take after knowing how much CO2 you create? Let us learn how to reduce your footprint significantly.
Deciding Your Tech Carbon Footprint
Before you even begin to think about lowering your tech carbon footprint, you first require determining the amount of your carbon footprint. There are various methods to do this, but to start you must gather any latest gas, electric, and oil bills you get for your home. This allows you to look at real figures rather than estimates, either in kilowatts per hour or in dollars. Also, since your power bills will vary as per the season relying on how much power you employ to cool or heat your house, try to get the best likely average of your usage during the summer and winter months.
It is also good to know how much you are traveling, and any predictions associating to the average gas mileage your car gets and how many miles you drive annually or weekly.
Once you have these things figured out, the simplest method to decide your tech carbon footprint is to employ a carbon calculator online. These tools, such as the one from the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), base their calculations on normal predictions of things such as average electricity usage, fuel economy, and waste disposal in the U.S. Once you connect in your personal figures, the calculator evaluates those figures with your personal info. You can then have a comparatively accessible figure that you can hold up in opposition to the classic technology consumer.
Certainly, some of us take the train to work or drive less as compared to other people, while others’ jobs need additional driving. Some homes are larger as compared to others, so it may take more power to cool or heat a specific house. Even the region you reside impacts your carbon footprint, as different areas employ electricity made from various types of fuel, and this is frequently one of the first things a calculator for carbon footprint will ask you.
So everybody’s carbon footprint calculation will eventually be different, but the actions individuals can take to lower emissions can assist. What can you do to lower your carbon footprint?
Lower Carbon Emissions At House
In your house, there are some factors you can begin doing instantly. With the push of a button or flick of a switch, you can simply regulate your consumption of electricity. All of the basic gadgets and appliances you use all over your house, comprising televisions, lights, video game systems, DVD players, computers, and so on, can be switch off when not in employment. Most of the time, for example, individuals only require one light in the room they are in, but sometimes it is simpler to switch lights on and leave them on as they go from room to room. And some individuals leave game systems or TV running, even when they are not in the same room using or watching them. Many individuals have gotten used to leaving computers plugged in or on, but this can squander a huge amount of power, as well, particularly if the PC’s sleep mode is not on.
One thing to remember: Since many devices employ energy—and hence cost you money—just by being connected, you can counteract this misuse by disconcerting things such as toasters when they are not in employment. If you wish to go a step more and prevent the constant task of unplugging and plugging, you can purchase a power strip and plug different devices into a single outlet. Power strips have switches for on/off, and you will not waste any electricity once the energy is turned off.
You can also turn to extra energy efficient techs. The EPA suggests devices with the qualifications for Energy Star, particularly computers and light bulbs. Switching to green energy, or an eco-friendly electricity initiative, is also a simple method to swiftly lower both the amount of money you waste and the amount of emissions you make. You can call your present power firm to query about green energy, or you can employ the green power locator of EPA for U.S. states. There are other alterations you can make, as well, such as making certain your house is correctly insulated and equipping extra efficient tech.
Lower Carbon Footprints Using Commute Options
When it comes to traveling, keeping away from the car is perhaps the best method to lower carbon emissions. Biking, public transportation, and walking are possible options. If none of these alternatives are accessible and you have to employ a car to get going, there are still various things you can do to reduce CO2. If you are looking for a used or new car, do some research to decide the most fuel-competent car you can buy. If you find you are stuck with the vehicle you have, you can make better driving decisions by avoiding hard accelerations and stepping lightly on the brake and gas pedals. One more factor to mull over is that the more weight your vehicle transports, the more fuel will burn and the harder the engine will have to operate, so unload your car as much as achievable before taking it on the roads.
Making certain your car is well-working is also essential. The better condition your vehicle is in, the more fuel-competent it will be. As a side advantage, it might be safer and worth more on the road, as well. A well-working engine will work longer, and any time you modify your oil you must also have a look on air filters. It is also a good thought to verify pressure in your tire often, since poor inflation can lower fuel efficiency and results in wear and tear of your tires.
On your way to the office, you can also share the ride with various colleagues (carpool). And when you are at the office, pay attention to the amount of power you are employing. Most offices employ laptop PCs, but individuals do not always place them in standby or switch them off while they are away from their bench. You can also disconnect power cords when PCs are not in employment or employ a power strip to manage the electricity flow in a better way.
And wherever you are, whether it’s at work, at home, or in the car, make an effort to reuse, reduce, and recycle. This assists in the long run since it slashes down on the amount of energy we have to employ so as to make new devices.