Last week we discussed some basic ideas of how to reduce your carbon emissions. To reach the goal of slowing down the heating of our atmosphere, we also need to take a look at how much carbon we generate and find even more ways to reduce it. Our carbon dioxide emissions per person are about 3 times the world average so we can be real leaders in becoming more efficient and far less damaging to the atmosphere.
I suggest you take the time and calculate your carbon footprint – it is an informative process that will take about 20 minutes and will tell you where to focus your efforts. You will probably find that your main uses are for transportation (fuel) and for heating and cooling your home (usually with natural gas, oil, coal, or electricity – generated from a range of fuels). Each of us has a big opportunity for reducing our carbon footprint by reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and moving toward solar and wind generated electricity.
There has been a big effort over the past decade to deregulate utilities to allow you more choice in what energy supplier you use. Many states have deregulated their energy suppliers. They include New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Virginia, Rhode Island, D.C., and Ohio. https://www.saveonenergy.com/state-information/
After deregulation, we electricity consumers lucky enough to be in one of those states have been able to change suppliers. Our local utility still delivers electricity to our home but we stopped buying our energy from them since they largely generate energy from fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and nuclear. We decided to switch to solar and wind suppliers. This took only a few minutes to do – all online. For the past 10 years we have used various vendors at a cost comparable to our local utility. If you are in one of these states you can probably do this too. Check out Inspire, Green Mountain Energy, Clean Choice, etc. There are dozens of firms who can supply you with clean and renewable energy. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do to lower your carbon emissions and help accelerate the movement toward renewables.
This past year another option has become available to us living in Maryland – you might want to check it out where you live. There are community solar firms who you can sign up with who build local solar arrays and sell you their electricity. The one we signed up with is Neighborhood Sun, but there are others – check them out.
Both options reduce the burning of fossil fuels and are very simple to sign up for. We also found out that it is easy to switch back to the utility if desired. We have never had a disruption in service and have dramatically lowered our carbon footprint.