Saturday, June 27, 2009

CONSERVATION: What is Your Carbon Footprint?

Lowering Carbon FootprintImage by GreenNetizen via Flickr

What is Your Carbon Footprint? by Jerry Dyess

The number of pounds of carbon dioxide each individual generates a year is astounding; in the United States the average is 15,000 pounds. This number takes into account the amount of carbon dioxide produced when the products and services we use are produced, the fuel we use to travel and the amount of energy we use in our homes. It is however possible to reduce and eliminate this number and live a "carbon neutral" life. Reducing our "carbon footprint" is an important step towards clean Texas energy sources.

Texans can start reducing their carbon footprint by becoming more energy efficient. This requires individuals to use less energy while maintaining their current lifestyle. This can be done by:

• Switching to energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Energy efficient light bulbs can save over 100 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year's time.
• Reducing the amount of hot water used. People can invest in efficient on demand hot water heaters, low flow shower heads and wash clothes in cold water. This reduces the carbon dioxide load by over 300 pounds.
• Recycling reduces carbon dioxide waste by 2,500 pounds. Start a recycling program if one is not available.
• Planting trees can reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about one ton for each tree planted. The trees not only absorb carbon dioxide, they provide wind breaks to keep buildings warm in the winter and shade to keep them cooler in the hotter months.

Another step towards the goal of clean Texas energy sources involves switching to renewable or clean energy sources such as solar and wind. Texas has always been synonymous with the oil industry. As sources of fossil fuel dwindle (oil production in Texas is down 73 percent since 1972) the state has to find new energy sources. The state has renewable and clean Texas energy sources to supply as much or even more sustainable energy than that which was supplied by fossil fuels. The potential for clean Texas energy is found in the renewable energy sources of wind, geothermal, biomass and solar power.

Wind power is considered sustainable and cost effective and is perfect as a clean Texas energy source. Texas has the potential to produce enough energy from wind to be self reliant. Calculations also show an overflow of wind power, this excess can be sold within the region.

Texas' location is perfect for solar power generation. The state has many long sunny days, perfect for harvesting solar energy. Solar energy requires an investment but the returns make it worth it. With the diminishing fossil oil reserves, Texas will have a substantial number of abandoned wells. These wells can be geared up to produce geothermal energy. This is another way to convert fossil energy dependency to clean Texas energy usage. Waste from agricultural and landfills can be used to produce biomass energy. Biodiesel has already been used to power some vehicles in some Texas cities effectively reducing some those cities carbon footprints.

Purchasing green power at the individual, city or government level can lead to widespread use of clean Texas energy. Texans can reduce their carbon foot print by building small scale renewable energy sources suitable for businesses or homes. The parts are affordable with wind and solar energy kits readily available. Individuals can also invest money in companies that sell, research and manufacture parts related to clean energy.

About the author - J. Dyess has specialized in Texas electricity and owner of Choose Energy ( for the past 7 years. You have full permission to reprint this article provided this box remains unchanged. Your source for lower Texas electric bills.

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