expand your carbon knowledge

what’s in your carbon footprint?

HOME—The average U.S. home uses 10,908 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually to power our appliances and electronics. Depending on your geographical region and your local utility’s resource mix, your electricity use can represent up to 33% of your carbon footprint.

 

DRIVING—The average American passenger vehicle travels 11,493 miles a year, which is equivalent to the release of approximately 10,582 pounds of CO2e emissions into the atmosphere annually.

 

AIR TRAVEL—A 3,500 mile flight (such as from Los Angeles to Chicago, round trip) produces approximately 2,700 pounds of CO2e.

 

WHAT YOU BUY—Everything you purchase and use has a carbon footprint determined by a wide range of factors including how and where it was produced, the materials it was made from, and the lifecycle of the product.

 

WHAT YOU EAT/DRINK—Everything in your diet has a carbon footprint, made up by many factors including the product itself, how it is grown or produced, the associated waste and/or methane released during its production, transportation associated with getting the product to your plate, and its product lifecycle. Generally plant-based foods have a lower carbon footprint than animal-based. Meat and animal by-products are the largest contributors to your dietary carbon footprint.

 

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how to shrink your carbon footprint

GET EFFICIENT—The average U.S. home uses 10,908 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually. Since 1978, the average U.S. households’ share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics has nearly doubled to 31%. You can reduce your electricity use by unplugging your nonessential appliances and electronics when not in use.

 

BUY LOCAL, RECYCLED AND/OR UPCYCLED—A standard cotton knit shirt produces approximately 23,400 lbs of CO2e from the production of the cotton, to textile manufacturing and consumer use. Be a conscious consumer. Buy less stuff in general. When you do need to make a purchase of goods or clothing, buy recycled or upcycled options wherever possible. Shop local to save on the GHG emissions associated with shipping.

 

DRIVE LESS—Drive the speed limit: 55 mph is the best speed for maintaining the best fuel economy for most vehicles, ride a bike or walk.

 

EAT LESS MEAT—Choosing a lentil burger over a hamburger would reduce your carbon footprint by 96.67%. Even opting for turkey could reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 59.6%.

 

BUY GREEN POWER—You can mitigate the environmental impacts of your utility’s resource mix and support renewable energy by enrolling in your utility’s green power program.

 

BALANCE THE FOOTPRINT YOU CAN’T AVOID WITH CARBON OFFSETS— BEF’s verified Carbon Offsets let you balance the carbon footprint you can’t avoid. Every Carbon Offset you purchase represents 1 metric ton (or 2,204 pounds) of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e) that is kept from the atmosphere.

 

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how Carbon Offsets work

Carbon Offsets are generated by discrete carbon reduction projects. One Carbon Offset represents the reduction of 1 metric ton (or 2,205 pounds) of greenhouse gas emissions that occur as a result of that specific project. Each Carbon Offset generated is third-party verified to prove that real, additional, permanent, verifiable and enforceable emissions reductions have occurred.

 

On top of their direct environmental benefit, some Carbon Offset projects carry additional certification to provide measurable social benefits as well.

 

1 carbon offset = 1 metric ton of CO2e kept from the atmosphere

 

VERIFICATION STANDARDS—Each Carbon Offset generated is third-party verified to prove that real, permanent, verifiable, additional and enforceable emissions reductions have occurred.

 

PROOF OF PURCHASE—BEF provides you with a proof of purchase certificate by email to ensure that only you own the environmental attributes associated with your Carbon Offset and to confirm the project supply from which your Carbon Offset was generated.

 

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types of Carbon Offset projects

The project types described below represent the diversity of projects that could make up BEF’s Carbon Offset portfolio. They are provided as information only to help inform our customers about where and how Carbon Offsets are generated.

 

AGRICULTURE METHANE CAPTURE—Agricultural operations, such as those in the dairy industry, result in methane emissions from animal waste. Sites may capture and flare the methane, which converts it into much less potent carbon dioxide. The methane gas may also be collected and scrubbed for use as biogas to produce energy, sometimes replacing natural gas or other fuel oils used for heating or energy production. The greenhouse gas (GHG) value is a function of converting the methane into carbon dioxide, which traps less heat in the atmosphere than methane.

 

CAMPUS CLEAN ENERGY—Institutions of higher-education across the U.S. are engaged in reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a variety of strategies including energy efficiency upgrades, on-site renewable energy and behavior change to reduce energy use. Carbon Offsets from this sector follow a performance-based approach and result from measured year-over-year improvements in energy use from either an entire campus or an individual certified green building located on campus.

 

FORESTRY—Healthy forests absorb and hold carbon dioxide emissions produced from other sources and are an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) sequestration. Carbon Offsets from forestry may be created through a variety of strategies including: avoided deforestation and permanent land conservation, reforestation and replanting activities, and improved forest management and stewardship in working forests where harvesting occurs.

 

GRASSLANDS CONSERVATION—Similar to forestry, native grasses and other vegetation provide a natural source of greenhouse gas (GHG) absorption and sequestration. Carbon Offsets from this category focus on maintaining native plant life through permanent land conservation and avoided conversion for commercial development or agriculture

 

LANDFILL GAS EXTRACTION—Unregulated landfill operations may collect and convert the methane emissions occurring as solid wastes break down at their facility over time. Methane gas may be flared and converted to carbon dioxide in order to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) potency. The methane gas may also be collected and scrubbed for use as biogas to produce energy, sometimes replacing natural gas or other fuel oils used for heating or energy production. The GHG value is a function of converting the methane into carbon dioxide, which traps less heat in the atmosphere than methane.

 

NATURALLY OCCURRING METHANE CAPTURE—Methane emissions may occur from land areas where coal or other high concentrations of un-extracted fossil fuels are present underground, resulting in a naturally occurring source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Methane gas may be flared and converted to carbon dioxide in order to significantly reduce its GHG potency. The methane gas may also be collected and scrubbed for use as biogas to produce energy, sometimes replacing natural gas or other fuel oils used for heating or energy production. The GHG value is a function of converting the methane into carbon dioxide, which traps less heat in the atmosphere than methane.

 

REFRIGERANT LEAK PREVENTION—This type of project quantifies the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions generated by reducing hydroflourocarbon (HFC) refrigerant leaks commonly found in commercial refrigeration systems. Rather than rely on annual equipment inspection for leak detection, this strategy utilizes automated infrared detection systems to identify issues when they occur and allows for immediate response. This results in a significant reduction in HFC emissions escaping through refrigerant equipment failure. Like methane, HFCs are a far more potent greenhouse gas (greater warming potential) than carbon dioxide, so it’s essential to prevent their release into the atmosphere

 

RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCTION—Renewable energy facilities, such as wind or solar, generate Carbon Offsets through displacing fossil fuel-based electricity production sources within the power grid. The greenhouse gas (GHG) value of this activity depends on the composition of the electricity mix within the grid region where the renewable energy facility is located.

 

TRANSPORTATION EFFICIENCY—Carbon Offsets from the transportation sector primarily focus on reducing emissions resulting from gasoline or diesel fuel used in fleet trucking operations. The two key strategies include truck idle reduction (where not required by law) such as with a truck-stop electrification project and efficiency upgrades to trucking equipment in order to improve fuel economy above prevailing regulated standards. In each case, reduced fuel consumption results in a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributable to the strategy deployed.

 

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