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Shrinking carbon footprints
Date:7/1/2008

Would shrinking your carbon footprint, recycling more, and going green be easier if you could monitor your household's environmental impact? That's the question a team of Canadian industry consultants set out to answer. They report their findings in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management from Inderscience Publishers.

The researchers recruited twenty willing households into a study group to assess how well environmentally sustainable behavior might be motivated by providing the householders with a clear and detailed picture of their impact on the environment and offering them tangible reasons for improvement and tailored solutions to problems.

They recorded and compared heating fuel, electricity, water, vehicle fuel costs and waste generation for each household and on the basis of this data recommended cost-effective measures to reduce consumption.

The team found that, on average, just over 25% of the recommended measures were implemented, which resulted in an estimated greenhouse gas reduction of about two tonnes for each household. This quantity of carbon emissions is about the same as one person making a return flight from Toronto to Vancouver and has an estimated environmental offsetting cost of around $30.

There were wide variations between households, however, demonstrating the potential to reduce environmental impact through lifestyle, conservation, and energy-conscious retrofits to older properties.

Despite initiatives such as Canada's "One Tonne Challenge" many individuals are increasingly concerned with environmental issues yet paradoxically feel that their personal efforts will either have little or no effect on global climate change and so are not adopting green principles.

"Participants commented that they became much more aware of their energy consumption and environmental impact by taking part in the year-long study and were, as a resu
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Contact: Jane Thompson
jtarch@cyberus.ca
613-747-8104
Inderscience Publishers
Source:Eurekalert

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