Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Go Green with Yahoo Green

Yahoo recently launched green.yahoo.com

They have an easy to use calculator for understanding how much carbon your household emits per year, and an easy way to create a plan to reduce your emissions.

They state that the average American emits 9.44 tons of CO2 / year.

I used their calculator to figure out our combined carbon footprint. Our total was a whopping 47.6 tons a year! WAY ABOVE AVERAGE. I was very surprised because we actually live with green in mind. We use flourescent light bulbs, we recycle, I live close to work, up until recently we commuted via public transit, etc. Then, I examined the breakdown, I was
surprised to find that our combined air travel was the culprit. Not driving and not the things we were doing at home. Taking vacations & traveling for work - that's what's doing it.

Actually, our combined total for "on the road" and "at home" only comes to 9 tons / year - less than the average American emits.

Anyway, I clicked on the link to make a plan. This easy to use tool gives you a great way to understand what you can do to minimize your impact. So, as an experiment, I went through the tool & selected things that we already do just to see what the impact would be.

The result? We can lower that total to 45.39 metric tons per year - we're still way above the average. Unfortunately, even if we eliminate all "at home" and "on the road" carbon emissions - I just can't see a way to limit air travel. At a bare minimum, Maria has to go to China a couple of times a year for work, and I go to a couple of conferences per year. She's got family in Detroit, and we have a travel bug - so what to do? Basically - we have to buy carbon offsets for the other 45 metric tons of co2.

How to buy carbon offsets? There are some interesting companies. One I heard about a while ago at a conference is TerraPass - they even have a "Flight TerraPass" where you can calculate your flights and they have a package to match your miles flown. They then use your money to fund clean energy projects that reduce CO2 emissions. How much for our flights? $149.95
Note - they even have a promotion to turn in your old cell phones & pda's for credit towards a TerraPass. They also have gift certificates... Maybe I'll buy these for my corporate gifts this year.

Buyer beware - be sure whatever company you choose to buy offsets from is independently audited & verified.

BTW - Portland Oregon ranked as the #1 most green city

No comments: