Understanding Your Carbon Footprint

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 15, 2017)

What is a carbon footprint? Simply put, anything that you do during the course of your normal daily routine that produces carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses to contribute to the Greenhouse Effect leaves behind your own footprint—a carbon footprint, if you will.

Some of the things we do each day add up to large carbon residuals. Using gas-powered machines such as cars, lawn mowers, garden tillers, motorcycles, and generators leaves carbon behind. Using electric appliances such as dishwashers, clothes washers, ovens, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, hair dryers, televisions, computers, and microwave ovens, and even something as simple as turning on a light leaves a carbon footprint. Using water to wash clothes and dishes, water lawns, personal bathing, swimming pools, water gardens, and brushing your teeth uses energy to leave behind carbon.

But, certainly, you aren't the only one performing those activities. If it were only you, then there wouldn't be a problem. But everyone else performs those same activities and, when you combine the billions of people all of the world doing the same activities that you do each day, that adds up to one gigantic carbon footprint, and the Earth bears the brunt of that footprint.

Perhaps it's time to understand and assess the carbon footprint that you leave behind. There are two types of carbon footprints; primary and secondary. Primary footprints are all of the things that we do each day to use energy, such as those things described above. But secondary footprints are a bit more complex, resulting from a chain of events. For example, if you use bottled water instead of water from the tap, you are leaving behind a secondary carbon footprint. You drive to the store in your car, to buy the water that was produced at a plant using electricity and machinery to mold the plastic bottle and label it, which in turn had to hire a truck to drive the product to the store to place it on the shelves of the store, which in turn had to use electricity to light the store so that you could see the product, and the list goes on and on. That secondary footprint could have been avoided if only you would have turned on your tap at home to get a drink of water. It's that simple.

Use online carbon footprint calculators to assess your individual carbon footprint. There are several available online. Simply type the words carbon footprint calculator into any search engine, and take the assessment. Even if your carbon footprint is low, there are still things that you can do to leave behind a smaller footprint. You might even aim to be carbon neutral, reducing your greenhouse emissions to zero.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Treating an Insect Bite

If you know in advance that you will be outside with the possibility of being around insects, take precautions and wear ...

Discover More

Using a Paint Sprayer

Whatever type of paint sprayer you chose, make sure that you follow all of the manufacturer's directions for use and ...

Discover More

Installing Insulated Windows

Decide upon the type of new window you want after taking measurements. You can order windows from a lumberyard or a ...

Discover More

Cordless, Compact, and Powerful! DeWalt's 18-volt drill-driver kit packs a big punch in a small package, with a powerful high-performance motor tucked away inside a compact design. A great addition to the tool chest of any professional or DIYer! Check out DeWalt 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Choosing an Energy Efficient Storm Door

If you are looking to create a home that is energy efficient, you really can't afford to overlook the doors of your home. ...

Discover More

Conserving Energy Around the Home

Taking small measures to conserve energy around your home can add up to big savings annually, not to mention the help ...

Discover More

How to Insulate Your Home

There is more to insulating your home than throwing up some random insulation that you get from the local home ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is eight minus 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)