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Personal Carbon Footprint

Climate Change | Carbon Footprint | Buffalo, NY | New Orleans, LA | Certified B Corp 

Ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Though the details on climate change, and the specific numbers on how the ocean levels and temperatures are changing at a rapid pace, the basic arguments for preventing climate change have remained consistent over the years. The first being the world provides natural filters for carbon emissions in the form of plant life.

This fact is taught in elementary school science, when students learn that plants and animals coexist, as one inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, while the other converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen during photosynthesis. One of the main problems has always been a rapid decrease in plant life, and a rapid increase in CO2 emissions, essentially removing our filters and increasing our waste.

While no one person could possibly reverse this trend on their own, there have been consistent measures people can take on a daily basis that reduces their overall carbon footprint. It’s something we don’t really think about, because polluting doesn’t always come in the form of a factory next door releasing smog into the atmosphere. It could be as easy as leaving the television on when you fall asleep. We don’t think about the coal that burns to power the electrical grid that feeds your personal television.

Below are five ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, without actually changing any part of your life.

  1. While it is obviously more eco-friendly to ride your bike, take public transportation, or car pool to work, this sort of change could severely alter a person’s morning routine. Instead if you are going to drive a personal vehicle, make sure the tires are always properly inflated. Your mileage can reduce up to 0.2% for every psi your tires are under inflated.[1] Properly inflated tires not only help reduce your carbon footprint, they help you save money

  1. Make sure to properly insulate your home. By reducing drafts and leaks you not only make your home more comfortable, but also more energy efficient. You won’t need to run your furnace on high for months at a time to live comfortably. This home improvement is such a simple way to cut costs, and waste, that New York State offers programs to help homeowners afford it.[2]

  1. When it comes to leaving on lights, it’s difficult to remember that something has to provide the energy. Unless you are aware that your electrical needs are coming from a clean source, chances are those lights are powered by burning coal. So obviously the first goal is to not leave lights on longer than you have to. However, a second thing you can do is transition to LED lightbulbs. While LEDs have a higher initial price they last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs and require less energy to power. They are more efficient, require less energy to power (therefore reducing the amount of coal needed to power), and save you money on your monthly electrical bill.[3]

  1. Once your home is properly insulated, just remember to turn off, or lower the power when you aren’t home. Some home thermostats even allow you to program it to turn off when you aren’t home, making this transition mindless. Again, not only does this reduce your carbon footprint, it will reduce your monthly costs.

  1. Finally don’t forget to recycle. Most office environments have instituted some recycling program, and recycling at home is as easy as taking out the trash. Though it may only seem like a single bottle, the total costs add up. The manufacturing process that releases the most pollutants is the initial extraction of raw materials used to manufacture these consumer goods.[4] By recycling we are able to skip that step.

These five personal changes should stand out because they can be performed with close to no radical changes to a person’s life. Once the initial step is done they not only help reduce one’s personal carbon footprint, but in most cases help an individual live a more cost effective life.


Views expressed are the opinions of Jeffrey Goldfarb and the Financial Advisors at Goldfarb Financial and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

[1] https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/maintain.jsp

[2] https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Home-Energy-Efficiency-Upgrades

[3] http://eartheasy.com/live_energyeff_lighting.htm

[4] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/331na5_en.pdf

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