Does lessening your impact on the environment motivate you to action? Does the increasingly wacky weather (more snow in winter, bunches of tornadoes in spring, long heat waves in summer) make you think maybe there’s something to this talk about climate change? If so, you’ll probably be interested in determining your carbon footprint—the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere as a result of your activities.
Whenever we burn fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal), carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere. If you heat your home with natural gas, fuel oil, or propane, you’re responsible for some carbon emissions. The amount depends on how efficient your home is. When you use electricity, your home’s carbon emissions are a function of how that electricity was generated. Coal-fired power plants generate a lot more carbon emissions than hydropower or nuclear plants.
To figure out your home’s approximate carbon footprint, you can use an online carbon calculator (see resources below). Your home energy pro may also be able to do carbon emission calculations for you and tell you how much your planned energy improvements will lessen your contribution to climate change.
Carbon Footprint Calculators