The Sterling Homes office site, located in South Burlington, uses solar energy as a main power source. In addition to allowing the office to run smoothly in all of its functions, solar power is also a method of carbon offsetting. For the month of May, the use of on-site solar panels offset 1,013 pounds of atmospheric carbon, which is about the equivalent of 12 trees. What that means is that by utilizing solar power, we prevented 1,013 pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere.
You can be in charge of your own mark on the world. With dedication and desire, you can be the hero to green building solutions. Everyone can have a part in choosing to “take the green road” in the context of carbon and energy. Before that can happen, let’s talk about what it means environmentally.
What is a carbon offset?
Carbon offsets are a problem solving tool that can help counteract impending climate change. The foundation of a carbon offset is based off the idea of neutralizing one’s “carbon footprint”. Most seemingly harmless acts, such as keeping appliances constantly plugged in or driving to work everyday can have some direct correlation to energy usage and the generation of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change over time. The combined amount of emissions caused by your lifestyle is known as your “carbon footprint”. Methods of transportation, food preferences, and even the type of house you live in affects your carbon footprint.
What does a carbon offset look like?
Carbon offsets come in many forms. One popular option chosen by large corporations or companies is to plant enough trees to neutralize their total carbon footprint. For example, if a small company produces about 20,000 pounds of carbon each year (through electricity, routine office equipment. etc.) that company would pay to have about 250 trees planted each year. Carbon offsets through forestry are popular because they are efficient by directly sequestering carbon that has been produced. Other methods of carbon offsetting include using wind power or hydropower as an alternative to nonrenewable energy sources.
What can the average person do to reduce their carbon footprint?
Due to various factors, the global climate is changing more rapidly than ever before. Reducing the amount of energy/electricity consumed and the amount of emissions produced are the key to slowing this rapid change. While renewable energy might not be possible for many, there are a lot of things that the average person can do to reduce their own carbon footprint. Here are some ideas to get you started…
- Reduce the amount of time spent in the car alone- Carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation when possible
- Reduces the amount of gasoline consumed
- Reduces the amount of carbon emissions produced
- Unplug electronic devices and appliances when not in use
- Prevents unnecessary use of electricity
- Plant gardens and trees of native varieties
- Supports local ecosystems and pollinators
- Sequesters carbon through photosynthesis
- Reduce consumption of meat and dairy, attempt to eat local
- Indirectly reduces water consumption and emission production
Attempting to reduce your carbon footprint is a daunting task for most people. Using solar power is just one way that Sterling Homes defines ourselves as leaders in the green building field. Read more on Sterlinghomesvt.com about how we enable our customers to make these same choices throughout the building process and into the future as homeowners.