Saturday, August 26, 2006

Calculate your impact

Here's an interesting little tool. It asks for some basic information (where you live, what kind of car you drive, how much you spend a month on utilities, etc.) and will calculate your yearly carbon dioxide output.

I rated myself and came in only slightly below average at 12,900 lbs/year. (The average is 15,000.) Eh. That's OK, but I could do better. Let's average that out to 1,000 lbs/month. Now it's time to set some goals:

I just e-mailed Margaret at work and asked for a TRAX pass instead of a parking pass next month. Using public transportation for my commute can eliminate 393 miles of driving, reducing my C02 emissions by about 31% a month.

Rocky Mountain Power has a program called Blue Sky. Starting at $1.95 per month, you can purchase blocks of 100 kwh that originate from sustainable resources, such as wind. Last month we used 795 kwh of electricity. So for an extra $16 a month, I can offset all that by paying Rocky Mountain Power to purchase electricity from sustainable sources. (For a list of Blue Sky FAQ's, click here.) That will reduce my yearly CO2 emissions by another 19%.

It should be noted that paying $16/month is probably on the high end since my last electric bill was for July. During January of this year we only used 260 kwh, which would only be $6 extra. Regardless, what I'll save in gas by taking public transportation will more than cover any costs associated with "switching" to wind generated electricity.

Overall, I'll save money AND cut my carbon dioxide production by 42% to 7,600 lbs a year.

Another thing I want to do is switch to CFLs (compact florescent light bulbs). CFLs consume 66% less energy, are 90% cooler and last 10 times as long as standard bulbs. (Boo-ya: less energy, less waste and a cooler apartment.)

Check out the Carbon Calculator and make the changes you need to reduce your carbon footprint.