Top 3 Changes you can Make to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Climate change is an existential threat to humans, which is why it is our mission at BlueRoof Foundation to educate consumers on how to reduce their energy and carbon footprint. It is important that everyone make small changes in their lives to address this problem before we will be forced to make drastic changes. Let’s take a look at the top 3 changes you can make to reduce his or her carbon footprint.

The United States emits roughly 5.5 gigatons of CO2 per year, which amounts to roughly 15 tons per person. The three big components of these emissions are personal automobiles, home energy, and air travel. Food, clothing and other smaller items are important but difficult to change easily. We will explore the Big Three and identify changes necessary to reduce our carbon impact. In Part 1 of this post we will focus on electric vehicles (EV) and its impact on your carbon footprint. With each of these changes we will focus on financial ROI to make sure it is a financially sound investment.

An average US automobile travels 12,000 miles per year and at about 22 miles/gallon of gas the automobile will emit roughly about 5.5 tons of CO2 per year. Unless you are willing to buy an EV and generate your own solar energy, it is difficult to eliminate your carbon footprint. According to the EIA, a government agency, based on 2017 data your EV carbon footprint per mile can vary quite widely from one state to another. For example, in Vermont which is the lowest carbon footprint for electricity, every 1,000 EV miles will result in only 6 pounds of CO2, which is extremely low. On the other hand, in Wyoming the same 1000 EV miles will result in 750 pounds of CO2. US average for the same 1,000 EV miles is about 360 pounds of CO2. Below is a list of all states and their carbon footprint per 1,000 EV miles along with carbon footprint for some of the most popular vehicles. For reference, a Toyota Prius will emit 320 pounds for 1,000 miles and a Ford F150 pickup truck will emit about 1,000 pounds per 1,000 mile.

StateCO2 lb / 1000 EV Miles
New Hampshire91
New York160
South Dakota183
New Jersey192
South Carolina218
North Carolina303
Rhode Island313
Toyota Prius370
Toyota Corolla526
New Mexico548
North Dakota579
West Virginia709

As you can see there is a wide variation in EV footprint by state. EVs are slightly more expensive to buy compared to an equivalent gasoline car, but between reduced or zero annual maintenance cost and reduced annual fuel cost the difference in initial cost can be made up in less than 5 years with certain EVs.

A typical EV can save approximately $1,200.00 per year over a gasoline powered car. If you take the environmental impact into consideration, buying an EV becomes a no-brainer – even at a lower ROI.

Used EVs are some of the best value cars in the market available today as per multiple car valuation websites like Edmunds and Kelley Bluebook. This is the single greatest change you can make to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Since our grid is becoming cleaner by the day, your EV carbon footprint will only reduce in the future!

We will discuss the other 2 components of your carbon footprint in a follow up post, so check back soon.

Three Simple Ways to Reduce Your Home Energy Footprint

It is our mission at Blueroof Foundation to educate consumers on how to reduce their energy and carbon footprint. In this post we want to focus on 3 things that homeowners can do that are quite inexpensive to implement and have a return on investment that is less than 2 years. 

LED Lightbulbs 

This is one of the easiest changes to make with a big impact. About 6-8% of our energy usage nationwide goes towards lighting. It’s a shockingly big number when you think about it. Most lightbulbs are still incandescent bulbs that Thomas Edison first invented, and they waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. LEDs are generally much cooler and emit almost the same quality and quantity of light. A typical LED bulb might cost around $4 and you will earn your money back in less than 2 years, while also reducing your carbon footprint for a long time. LEDs also have a long life which will result in reduced maintenance costs over time. Assuming you have 50 bulbs to replace, this is a simple and easy change to make for less than $250 for immediate payback. 

Smart Thermostat 

This change might require a little bit of professional help but it’s well worth the trouble. Our personal favorite is the Nest thermostat from Google, but any brand should have the same impact. These thermostats are smart and can be managed from your mobile device via an app. They are called “smart” because they know when no one is home and they switch to eco mode to reduce your wasted energy consumption. During summers and winters these devices can easily save 12-15% on your energy bill. Lots of local utilities offer rebates and incentives that can reduce the upfront cost. Typically, these devices cost around $250 with an installation cost of $150. The return on investment for this device is also less then 2 years, and we strongly recommend you make this change. 

Pool Pump with Variable Speed 

If you have a pool, you have probably been frustrated by your electricity bill in the summer.  The typical pool pumps are AC motors and they consume a lot of energy. Switching the pump to a variable speed DC motor will dramatically reduce your energy costs. A typical variable speed pump costs less than $1,200 in parts and an additional $750 in labor to install. It may sound like a lot, but these little pumps are so efficient that they can pay you back in less than 2 summers. This is another great investment to make if you are serious about reducing your home energy footprint and reducing your electric bill in the process! 

Check back soon as we continue to share more ways you can reduce your energy footprint, including some ideas that are a little more expensive with a longer return on investment.