Et votre impact, alors?

Afin d'enclencher un changement social, Debbie Jefferies du groupe
Enerplan Rose Consultants Ltd. nous dit
que nous devons tous commencer par des "changements qui sont faciles à faire et qui nous sont les plus accessibles".

Cet article nous montre
des moyens réalistes par lesquels chacun de nous peut apporter sa contribution au changement climatique. 

 

How Much Does Your
Impact Weigh?

   Debbie Jeffery
   Enerplan Consultants Ltd.
   April 2000

 

ost people will agree that social change comes from a combination of public, government and industry commitment. To become engaged in this process, a good place for each of us to start is with changes that are easiest to make and that are most within our personal control.

When it comes to reducing our contribution to climate change there are so many ways we can direct our focus. Switching to alternative energy sources and selling the car(s) may be ideal, but it may not be practical - even for the most devoted environmentalist. Reducing our energy use is a simple alternative and is the bridge to bigger commitments.

Calculating Your Personal
Greenhouse Gas Emissions

To reduce energy use, it is important to start out with clear but realistic goals. Take a look at your current CO2 production. If you have access to the Internet, a good site is "www.climcalc.net". This site has a computer-based tool that calculates your emissions for you and provides feedback on how to reduce your emissions. If you prefer the manual way, there are a few conversion factors that can help you get a ballpark figure of what you produce in a year. You can then set goals to reduce your consumption.         


Kilowatt Hours (kWh)

The formula for converting kilowatts into greenhouse gasses is different for every province because each province has different ways of producing electricity. In New Brunswick, most of our electricity is generated through thermal (coal and oil) and nuclear power plants, unlike other provinces that rely more heavily on hydro- powered electrical plants. Multiply kWh’s used by 1.12 to get the kilograms of CO2. For example, if you use 1314 kWh of electricity you produce 1471.68 kg (or 1.47 tonnes) of CO2. To reduce your emissions on this front, consider upgrading to energy efficient appliances and lighting and even using your appliances less. If your home has electric heat make sure you are using your heat as wisely as possible.                                    (photo:NBPowerSite)

Oil

Check the oil bills or the oil delivery slips that are dropped off at your house after each fill-up to see how much fuel you use over the year. Make sure that you are not missing any of the slips! If you have a good memory (or are a reasonably good estimator) or if you keep good records, this will be fairly easy to do. Otherwise you can call your oil company or wait until the next heating season to collect this information.

For household oil, take the total number of liters that you use for the year and multiply it by 2.86 to find out how many kilograms of CO2 you are creating. Next winter, wear an extra sweater, exercise more, and turn down the heat at night to see your greenhouse gas emissions go down. Also, consider draft-proofing your home.

Cars

How many liters our car burns in the run of a year is not a figure most of us have on hand, not to mention the motorcycle, lawn mower, skidoos or other gas-powered machines that are filled up on a regular basis. Your car can burn up to 50% more in the winter and a poorly tuned car can increase by just as much again. Do you keep track of your gas bills? Maybe you charge them all on your credit card and can refer back to that. Or maybe you always fill your 30-liter tank once a week. When you establish how many liters you go through in a year, multiply by 2.36 kg to get the CO2. A well-tuned car and a switch to less driving should show a measurable reduction of your impact. And, if you are in the market for a new vehicle, you might want to consider a more energy efficient model. Transport Canada publishes a good Fuel Consumption Guide that compares hundreds of different makes and models of vehicles on their city and highway consumption ratings.

Carbon Dioxide and Trees

Trees need a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) to survive. In fact, trees absorb moisture from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air, and use sunlight to turn them into a kind of sugar called glucose. This gives trees the nutrients and energy they need to grow. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called "photosynthesis".

Some scientists have calculated how much carbon dioxide a tree can absorb in a year. It is difficult to generalize because some trees are bigger than others, and younger trees require more nutrients than older ones. However, on average it is estimated that one tree will remove 3 kilograms of CO2 from the air over the course of one year. Keep this in mind, both when you’re thinking of planting or considering clearing some trees or bushes.

Take the Plunge

While these calculations do not take into consideration the effects of all your lifestyle choices, it can give you an idea of where you are starting from. Why not take the plunge and pledge to reduce your emissions by 20% in the coming year?

As environmentalists, we have a responsibility to educate others about their impacts and how we can tread more lightly on the earth. Having the hard numbers to show what we have done can go a long way to show that we’re not just full of hot air!

 

Greenhouse Gas & Computers

chart

computers and greenhouse gas