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Understanding and Reducing your Carbon Footprint 20160622


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Learn what makes up your personal carbon footprint, including housing, travel, food, products, and services. Learn how to calculate your carbon footprint, and how to reduce it

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Understanding and Reducing your Carbon Footprint 20160622

  1. 1. June 2016 P a g e | 1 Understanding and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint The Challenge: Keep Global Warming < 2°C Greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels such as oil and gas, have warmed our climate by +1°C from preindustrial levels. To avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, scientists tell us (and all the major countries of the world have agreed) that we must limit global warming to less than 2°C from preindustrial levels. For a typical Canadian, this means we need to reduce our personal carbon footprint from around 20 tonnes today to less than 2 tonnes by 2050. Source: Lindsay Wilson, Emit This (2013), Housing 29% Travel 26% Food 15% Products 16% Services 14% Carbon Footprint for Typical Canadian = 18 tonnes 5.1 4.6 2.6 2.8 2.6 0 2 4 6 8 10 Housing Travel Food Products Services Carbon Footprint for Typical Canadian (t CO2e/person)
  2. 2. June 2016 P a g e | 2 Where to Start: Calculate Your Carbon Footprint It’s important to understand your carbon footprint to help identify the biggest opportunities to reduce it. For most of us, heating our homes and driving our cars are the biggest contributors. What we eat and our spending patterns can also make a big difference. To calculate your carbon footprint, you need information on how much energy and other activities you “use” in a year, and a calculator like this: Housing Input Use Units Emission Factor Units Reference Footprint (metric tonnes) Electricity (ON) 4,466 kWh/yr 0.13 kg CO2e/kWh 0.58 Natural gas 500 cubic metres/yr 1.99 kg CO2e/m3 1.00 Heating Oil 900 litres/yr 3.15 kg CO2e/litre 2.84 Propane 50 litres/yr 1.54 kg CO2e/litre 0.08 Firewood 5 face cords/yr - (biogenic carbon) - Waste Disposed 15 kg/week 0.45 kg CO2e/kg 0.35 City Water 250 litres/day 2.91 g CO2e/litre 0.27 5.11 Travel Car 20,000 km/yr 187 g CO2e/km 3.74 Motorcycle 100 km/yr 153 g CO2e/km 0.02 Bus 800 km/yr 90 g CO2e/km 0.07 Rail 150 km/yr 101 g CO2e/km 0.02 Taxi 150 km/yr 202 g CO2e/km 0.03 Air 5,000 km/yr 154 g CO2e/km 0.77 4.64 2,600 ← Input kCal/day (average = 2600) Food Average ← Choose Diet (Meat Lover, Average, No Beef, Vegetarian, Vegan) Beef, lamb 6% % daily calories 16.01 g CO2e/kCal 0.93 Chicken, pork 10% % daily calories 4.27 g CO2e/kCal 0.40 Dairy 11% % daily calories 5.01 g CO2e/kCal 0.55 Cereals, bread 26% % daily calories 0.56 g CO2e/kCal 0.14 Vegetables 5% % daily calories 2.80 g CO2e/kCal 0.13 Fruit 4% % daily calories 4.63 g CO2e/kCal 0.15 Oils, spreads 26% % daily calories 0.60 g CO2e/kCal 0.15 Snacks 6% % daily calories 0.56 g CO2e/kCal 0.03 Drinks 6% % daily calories 2.20 g CO2e/kCal 0.13 100% 2.61 Products 500$ $/month Electrical 14% % monthly spend 0.48 kg CO2e/$ 0.39 Household 16% % monthly spend 0.63 kg CO2e/$ 0.61 Clothes 17% % monthly spend 0.46 kg CO2e/$ 0.47 Medical 21% % monthly spend 0.29 kg CO2e/$ 0.37 Recreational 17% % monthly spend 0.56 kg CO2e/$ 0.57 Other products 15% % monthly spend 0.48 kg CO2e/$ 0.44 100% 2.84 Services 1,000$ $/month Health 34% % monthly spend 0.20 kg CO2e/$ 0.82 Financial 18% % monthly spend 0.14 kg CO2e/$ 0.31 Recreation 22% % monthly spend 0.26 kg CO2e/$ 0.68 Education 4% % monthly spend 0.23 kg CO2e/$ 0.12 Vehicle 5% % monthly spend 0.37 kg CO2e/$ 0.24 Communication 5% % monthly spend 0.16 kg CO2e/$ 0.09 Other services 11% % monthly spend 0.25 kg CO2e/$ 0.33 100% 2.59 Total Personal Carbon Footprint 17.80
  3. 3. June 2016 P a g e | 3 More Life, Less Carbon: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint that contribute to other goals you want to achieve (e.g., simplifying your life, making your home more comfortable, saving energy, etc.). What’s important is to identify a few of these and start doing them. Your choices will be unique to you, depending on your own carbon footprint, what you value most and your life circumstances (e.g., where you live, if you are building a new home, your job, etc.). Some examples are shown below. Activity Rethink and Reduce High Carbon Activities Improve Energy Efficiency Use Low Carbon Energy Housing Smaller home Reduce thermostat in winter Reduce hot water consumption Hang clothes to dry Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Compost organics Energy audit Insulation Air sealing (with proper ventilation) High performance windows Thermal bridge free design Passive solar design Solar or other renewable energies Wood heat Travel Reduce air travel Reduce distances travelled Live closer to work Walk or bike Car pool Use public transit Use fuel efficient vehicles Tune up your car Electric vehicles Biodiesel Food Grow your own food Eat less meat (esp. beef and lamb) and dairy Don’t waste food Eat local Other Purchases Share, don’t buy Pay the man: Prefer Services to Products Purchase a few great things Purchase durable things Purchase used Chose the most energy efficient appliances Avoid “vampire loads” Investments Divest from fossil fuels Invest in low carbon/ renewable energy investments
  4. 4. June 2016 P a g e | 4 What Next? Want to learn more about your carbon footprint, how to calculate it, and how to reduce it? Sign up for one of our upcoming workshops on “Understanding and Reducing your Carbon Footprint”. You will learn how to use a calculator or spreadsheet to convert your energy use and other data to your carbon footprint. You will also learn how to choose the best ways to reduce your footprint, and estimate the impact of these actions on your carbon footprint. What you need to bring to the carbon footprint workshop:  A hand held calculator or laptop that runs Microsoft Excel;  Your annual energy use data (see page 2 for examples);  How far you drive each year and your vehicle model. We will use this information to estimate how much gasoline or diesel fuel your vehicle uses in one year. If you know your actual annual fuel consumption in litres that is better – it will provide a more accurate calculation of your carbon footprint;  How far you travel each year by other means (e.g., bus, rail, air; see page 2 for examples);  Information about your diet (e.g., meat lover, average, no beef/lamb, vegetarian vegan); and  An estimate of what you spend annually on product and services (see page 2 for examples). To learn more or arrange a workshop, contact us at