Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

The average U.S. resident’s yearly carbon footprint is over 16 metric tons, the equivalent of 17,000 pounds of coal burned. To combat this, California has mandated that emissions must drop an additional 40% by 2030. To help you do your part, here are ways to reduce your personal footprint in the new year.


What you put on your plate is more powerful than you think. One of the largest contributors to our carbon footprint is eating meat. In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Adopting a more plant based diet has many benefits:

  • Skipping meat and cheese one day per week is equivalent to taking your car off the road for five weeks!
  • A 2018 Oxford University study found that the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact is to avoid animal products.
  • The USDA reports that agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of U.S. water consumption. It takes 477 gallons of water to produce one pound of eggs and almost 900 gallons of water for one pound of cheese. Reduce your meat and dairy and reduce your water consumption! 
  • Studies find that vegetarians tend to exhibit:
    • smaller waist circumference
    • lower amounts of abdominal fat
    • lower cholesterol
    • lower blood sugar
    • lower body mass index (BMI)


Transportation generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Whether it’s a car, plane, ship or train, getting from here to there is costly on the wallet and the planet. Globally, 74% of CO2 emissions come from road transportation, while aviation represents 12%, shipping 10% and railways 4%. Below are a few stats about the impact transportation can have on carbon footprint and ideas to curb your personal usage:

  • When you can, opt to walk or bike instead of drive. Walking and biking can reduce your daily footprint while offering many physical benefits like a stronger heart, decreased overall weight and better cardiovascular health.
  • If a new car is in your future, choose electric or hybrid. Even switching from a vehicle that gets 20-mpg to one that gets 25-mpg car, reduces your greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 tons annually.
  • Carpooling is another friendly way to save money, time, gas and the planet. 
  • When flying, pare down your luggage. If all passengers pack one less pair of shoes, or about 2 lbs less each, the fuel savings would be the same as taking 10,500 cars off the road for an entire year. That’s for just one flight!


Do you know how much natural gas, electricity or water you used last year? Familiarizing yourself with your usage is the first step to reducing these resources. Check with your local utilities for tips on savings, alternative programs and other changes you can make. 

Interested in learning more about reducing your carbon footprint? Visit the Nature Conservancy to calculate your personal carbon footprint.

For more tips from your local green realtor, check back next month, and as always, if you’re interested in selling, buying or have questions about a greener home buying experience, contact us. All Zip Code East Bay agents hold the Nat’l Assoc. of REALTORS®’ Green Designation and we love being your local green resource. 





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