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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Edition 5: What is your Carbon Footprint




As the Copenhagen conference is under way, we attempt to educate our readers about carbon footprint created by us as an individual and as a country.
The measure, as they say of pollution is carbon footprint.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc.
The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.
A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the primary & Secondary footprints.
1. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane).
2. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2
emissions from the whole life cycle of products we use-those
associated with their manufacture and eventual break-down. To put it
very simply the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf.
How to measure your carbon footprint
Step 1. : Track your mileage. Driving your car is the largest portion of
your carbon footprint about the size of your heel and arch put together! Track your mileage and calculate how many gallons of fuel you use each day. For each gallon of gasoline consumed, add 19.6 pounds of CO2. Lower your CO2 emissions by walking or bicycling, car pooling, riding public trans-portation, and planning errands around other necessary trips in town. Maintaining your vehicle keeps it running cleaner and also
helps reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Step 2 : Read your electric meter. Each day record your kilowatt-
hours (kWh) used. Every kilowatt-hour produces 1.5 pounds of CO2.
But for every kilowatt-hour used, 2.2 are wasted, or lost, during
transmission over electrical lines. Therefore, small changes can have a
big impact. Reduce your usage by replacing standard light bulbs to
compact fluorescent. Keep in mind, fluorescent light bulbs contain
mercury so proper disposal at your local recycling center is a must.
Turning off computers when not in use can reduce their carbon footprint
by 50 percent. (See resource section below for more ways to reduce
electrical costs and, in turn, your carbon footprint).
3. Step 3 : Track your natural gas or propane meter. Again, record your ter filters each month during the winter. If you have an older home with single pane windows, consider replacing them this summer for huge savings next winter. Your heating bill and your carbon footprint will shrink from jumbo to petite. daily usage of natural gas. Every 100 cubic feet belches out 12 pounds of CO2. Propane gas uses
slightly more at 12.6 pounds per gallon. Reduce your heating carbon footprint by replacing heater filters each month during the winter. If you
have an older home with single pane windows, consider replacing them
this summer for huge savings next winter. Your heating bill and your
carbon footprint will shrink from jumbo to petite.
4. Step 4 : Measure your carbon footprint. Gather your data and
calculate your carbon footprint online. There are a number of easy-
to-use calculators available and, while they may vary in the level of
detailed information, each one will give you a good indication of where
you stand in your carbon footprint.
http://www.nature.org/initiatives /climatechange/calculator/?src=f1
Indian average : 1.25 tCO2/yr.
World average : 4 tCO2/yr.
US average : 19tCO2/yr.
Europe average : 8 tCo2/yr.
What you can do to reduce your carbon footprint ?
For Individuals : Here's a list of simple things you can do immediately
n Turn it off when not in use (lights, television, DVD player, Hi Fi, computer etc. etc. ...)
n Turn down the central heating slightly (try just 1 to 2 degrees C)
n Turn down the water heating setting (just 2 degrees will make a significant saving)
n Check the central heating timer setting - remember there is no point heating the house after you have left for work
n Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load - this will save you water, electricity, and washing powder
n Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need
n Do your weekly shopping in a single trip
n Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it
n Sign up to a green energy supplier, who will supply electricity from renewable sources (e.g. wind and hydroelectric power) - this will reduce your carbon footprint
contribution from electricity to zero The following is a list of items that
may take an initial investment, but should pay for themselves over the course of 1-4 years through savings on your energy bills.
n Fit energy saving light bulbs
n Install thermostatic valves on your radiators
n Insulate your hot water tank, your loft and your walls
n Installing cavity wall installation
n By installing 180mm thick loft insulation
n Recycle your grey water
n Replace your old fridge / freezer (if it is over 15 years old), with a new one with energy efficiency rating of “A"
n Replace your old boiler with a new energy efficient condensing boiler Travel less and travel more carbon footprint friendly.
n Car share to work, or for the kids school run
n Use the bus or a train rather than your car
nFor short journeys either walk or cycle
nTry to reduce the number of flights you take. See if your employer will allow you
to work from home one day a week. Next time you replace your car - check out diesel engines. With one of these you can even make your own Bio-diesel fuel.
nWhen staying in a hotel - turn the lights and air-conditioning off when you leave your hotel room, and ask for your room towels to be washed every other day, rather than every day.
As well as your primary carbon footprint, there is also a secondary footprint that you cause through your buying habits.n Don't buy bottled water if your tap water is sa

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