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Want to lower CO2 emissions? Here’s how to measure your Carbon Footprint
Energy

Want to lower CO2 emissions? Here’s how to measure your Carbon Footprint

Plus: How 3 Philly residents stack up

According to scientists, we have 11 years left to act on climate change, thanks to our current global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the future of our planet weighs heavily on humanity’s current actions, it’s important to be cognizant of how our everyday actions affect our environment.

But how do you even measure your personal actions?

Meet: Your carbon footprint.

A carbon footprint can be defined as the total amount of greenhouse gasses, mainly carbon dioxide (CO2), produced by a person and/or organization to directly or indirectly support human activities.

What emits greenhouse gasses?

Unfortunately, the answer is…a lot. Every action like heating your home, cooking dinner, charging your cell phone, turning on the lights, and printing out documents at the office are just a few examples.

To see what your carbon footprint looks like, use one like the EPA’s online calculator, which generates an estimated amount of your household’s CO2 emissions by answering a few simple questions.

Case Study: CO2 emissions across Philadelphia

To put the carbon calculator to the test, I took the test along with a few friends.

Here’s our carbon footprints in different Philadelphia neighborhoods and ways we can improve our emissions.

Name

# in Household

Neighborhood

Total CO2 Emissions

Lindsey

2

Old City

16,488 lbs

Amanda

2

Port Richmond

21,065 lbs

Brad

1

Rittenhouse

9,261 lbs

So what did we learn? One of the best things about this calculator is that it gives suggestions of how to lower your total emissions.

Lessons from Carbon Calculator

Lindsey can change 3 lightbulbs in the house to energy efficient light bulbs to save 100 lbs of CO2!

Amanda can turn AC thermostat up 3 degrees during the summer to save 192 lbs of CO2!

Brad can use cold water (instead of hot) on 1 load of laundry per week to save 50 lbs of CO2!

How else Philadelphians are squandering CO2?

Did you know one of the biggest contributors to your carbon footprint is transportation?

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSUSA), automobiles account for about one-fifth of all US emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and GHGs for every gallon of gas used!

DATA USA recently published that the average household in Philadelphia owns at least one car, and more than half of Philadelphia residence drove alone to and from work. Just think about how much Philadelphia’s total GHG emissions can lessen if residents change how they travel by either carpooling or using public transportation!

Additional Tips to Lower Your Carbon Footprint

  1. Buy from second-hand stores or thrift stores to reduce CO2 from new products
  2. Use reusable bags when shopping
  3. Travel non-stop if traveling by air
  4. Share documents digitally versus printing
  5. Eat locally
  6. Reduce, reuse & recycle.

Use these tips to decrease the impact of your daily habits and encourage others around you to do the same. It’s our job to take care of the planet to preserve its beauty for generations to come, but we can all do it!

Photo by Evie Shaffer on Unsplash

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Lindsey Czajkowski
Lindsey Czajkowski works as a Design Coordinator at the Free People home office. Her interest in fashion influenced her move to Philadelphia, but the delicious food scene, diversity, and opportunity within Philly is what made Lindsey immerse herself in the city. You’re likely to find Lindsey at work in the Navy Yard in South Philly, out to eat around Northern Liberties, or shopping in Center City or in a park trying to pet a strangers dog. View all posts by Lindsey Czajkowski

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