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Consistent Energy Use: What You Should Know About the Carbon Footprint

Written by Simra Sayeed

When thinking about energy usage, most people tend to focus on cost. The importance of the carbon footprint of energy isn’t often discussed. But this is something businesses need to be aware of, as it can influence a company’s reputation and how consumers perceive its products. 

An organization's carbon footprint measures how much CO2 is released into the atmosphere because of its business activities. This includes energy use, purchasing practices, transportation, and more. The smaller your organization’s carbon footprint, the better you are environmentally conscious and sustainable as a business entity.

Anyone who wishes to conduct business ethically needs to be aware of their carbon footprint when using electricity or natural gas for heating or cooling purposes. Reducing one’s carbon footprint has many other benefits besides helping the environment – it also lowers your costs and reduces your risk from volatile energy prices and market fluctuations.

Greenhouse gas emissions from energy use have been growing steadily for decades. According to the EPA, buildings are responsible for about 38% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States, with commercial buildings making up about half of that figure.

As a society, we’ve become hyper-aware of our impact on the environment, and this extends to the office as well. People are asking questions about how companies reduce their carbon footprint for a good reason.

Save The World has gone from being a niche movement to the standard operating procedure in the modern workplace. As a result, there has been an uptick in carbon footprint reduction strategies among businesses and individuals. We see carbon footprints everywhere – from books and articles to advertisements for eco-friendly products. 

Here's how you can calculate your carbon footprint:

  • Multiply your monthly electric bill by 105
  • Multiply your monthly gas bill by 105
  • Multiply your monthly oil bill by 113
  • Multiply your total yearly mileage on your car by .79
  • Multiply the number of flights you’ve taken in the past year (4 hours or less) by 1,100
  • Multiply the number of flights you’ve taken in the past year (4 hours or more) by 4,400
  • Add 184 if you do NOT recycle newspaper
  • Add 166 if you do NOT recycle aluminum and tin
  • Add 1-8 together for your total carbon footprint

Keep in mind that an “ideal” carbon footprint (or a “low” footprint) is anywhere from 6,000 to 15,999 pounds per year. 16,000-22,000 is considered average. Under 6,000 is considered very low. Over 22,000? You may want to take some of these “living green” practices into consideration.

If your number is higher than you’d expect, don’t despair! There are several small sacrifices/measures you can make to lower your carbon footprint, such as recycling and purchasing carbon offsets.

Transitioning to renewable energy is one of the most powerful ways for a country to reduce its Ecological Footprint. Many countries still have a long way to go on that front.

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