Hey Captain Crawl Space,
Do you have any Goals for Earth Day 2016?
Howard H. Virginia Beach
Hi Howard, Thank you for asking about Earth Day 2016. Earth Day is always one of my favorite observances, and this year for April 22 my thought is: Wouldn’t it be great to reduce my Carbon Footprint?
First, a Carbon Footprint is defined as: The total amount of greenhouse gasses produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). So when you drive a car, your engine burns fuel which creates an amount of CO2; when you heat your house with oil, gas, or coal, you also generate CO2. Even if you heat with electricity, the generation of electricity will generate CO2. Carbon dioxide is a “Greenhouse Gas” that cause global warming. The Carbon Footprint is a great way to understand how personal behavior can impact global warming. Would you like to calculate your Carbon Footprint-here is a free calculator: http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/
So what can I do to reduce my carbon footprint? Research done by The Department of Energy shows that many residential and commercial buildings consume about twice as much energy as they should. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential and commercial buildings account for nearly 35% of the carbon emissions in the U.S.- this is more than the entire transportation industry. This is sad news, but at the same time represents a tremendous opportunity to cut our carbon emissions and our carbon footprint by making our homes and buildings more efficient.
There are many ways to help the environment and lower our carbon footprint at home: everything from recycling, and using Energy Star approved appliances to super-efficient light bulbs and shower heads. But insulation and air sealing are the only improvements that will keep benefiting homeowners and our planet for as long as your home is standing.
The first step towards making residential and commercial buildings more efficient is to identify weak points in a home’s “building envelope” (Building Envelope is the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building or home including the resistance to air, water, heat, and noise transfer).The big problems are usually too little insulation and too much air leakage. Next, find a qualified contractor to “seal tight and insulate right” using proper techniques and materials. The Drying Co./ ThermalTec is an example of a “Home Performance Contractor” trained specifically to identify building envelope issues and to help you make your home more comfortable, and help save our planet with lower carbon emissions and a lower carbon footprint. What a win/win situation and the best goal I could hope for Earth Day 2016.