Step Lightly and Emit Less CO2


One of the terms that is bandied about a lot recently is Carbon Footprint. A person's carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 they are responsible for producing each year. If you intend to live a more sustainable life then reducing your carbon footprint is a good way to measure that. The first question to answer is "What is my carbon footprint." Thanks to the wonders of the Internet can help you measure your CO2 output. first asks you to select the state you live in to calculate CO2 emission factors for electricity production. Unfortunately, New Mexico generates about 60% of it's electricity from coal-fired power plants in and near the state. The next questions are about your annual household fuel and electricity usage. I went to the PNM website which allows you to view your annual power usage statistics and added up the Kilowatt hours of electricity and Therms of natural gas I've burned. I then answered questions about personal travel via car, rail, bus and air. The next step is to click the Calculate button and face the truth of one's Carbon Footprint.

I was somewhat relieved to discover that my personal Carbon Footprint is not that huge, at least for an American. My primary share of carbon production is 6,432 kg. My secondary carbon production is estimated to be 5,950 kg. This adds up to a Total Carbon Footprint of 12,382 kg. According to the average person in the USA has a total carbon footprint of 19,000 kg each year! Sometimes it feels pretty good to know that you are below average, especially in CO2 production.

So, my next steps are to investigate the PNM Sky Blue™ program which allows residential and business customers to buy wind-generated electricity. I am also planning on getting a new roof installed on my home and I will re-insulate at the same time. A new, well-insulated roof should significantly reduce my heating bills at the same time it reduces my carbon-footprint.

What is your personal carbon footprint and what are you planning to do to reduce it?

More Reading: CO2 Calculator

EPA CO2 Calculator

PNM Sky Blue™ Program