I frequently keep getting asked the question: How can I contribute to sustainability? What changes should I make in my daily life to reduce my carbon footprint? High carbon footprint would mean that the environment is at risk due to our daily activities.
Every individual, organization or country must work towards having as low a carbon footprint as possible. To truly switch to sustainable energy and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we must incorporate little changes in our daily life that make a huge difference to our environment.
How can we bring down our carbon footprint?
The easiest methods to reduce a carbon footprint can start from the simplest of actions.
Energy saving is one of the main and most effective ways of cutting carbon emissions from one’s life. Its impact isn’t realized overnight but it plays a crucial role in the implementation of long-term benefits on our environment.
Reduce fossil fuels
As of 2017, transport accounted for over 20% of the CO 2 eq GHG emissions globally. One of the first things we can do is to reduce fossil fuel burning and emissions. This can be achieved by either reducing vehicle usage or travel, and by using more energy efficient fuel consumption methods like reducing the usage of diesel generators. Taking public transport methods such as trains or following a carpool technique would help in bringing down the carbon footprint. Alternately, moving to an electric vehicle would significantly bring down the carbon emission contribution and put one on the path of becoming a green citizen.
Sustainable energy solutions at Home
The next target is electricity. Nearly 33% of the world’s GHG emissions are due to electricity. The natural solution would be to follow sustainable energy solutions within our home, such as the ones offered by SR Portables. These would help reduce the electricity consumption and leave a positive impact on the environment. Turning all lights off when not using them, using energy efficient LED bulbs/lamps and having smart home illumination systems are good ways to start the transition. LED lights consume far less energy than any incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent alternatives. Another suggestion is to replace old appliances with energy-efficient ones. Older appliances consume much more energy than needed. For example, a 10-year-old refrigerator tends to use up to 20% more energy compared to when you bought it. It is important to timely replace your old appliances with new ones. Although, just getting a new appliance does not ensure energy efficiency. You can determine energy efficiency in an appliance by checking the BEE star label before your purchase. More star on the appliance accounts for less energy consumption and vice versa.
Switching to renewable energy
What could be better than switching to a clean source of energy altogether? Replace the usage of diesel for energy power backup or UPS converters by using portable solar chargers.
There are various solar-powered products in the market that include handheld units of smaller capacities as well as larger units that can be used for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Although the application of the product varies as per the size and capacity of the unit, the product versatility allows the same unit to be used in multiple scenarios. Even though you might think that these products are expensive, in reality, when compared to the diesel alternatives, they are actually three times cheaper, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly.
Include Vegetarian/Vegan Diets
Animal products lead to a high carbon footprint as compared to vegetable produce.
Incorporating healthy vegetarian diets in the weekly schedule, or turning fully vegan will help reduce the carbon footprint. If Jack would stay away from beef/lamb (and still continue eating meat) he would have his individual carbon footprint almost equal to that of a vegetarian counterpart.
Water is the very elixir of all our existence in the world – and also has a healthy, organic method to keep everything clean and pure. Saving water by using efficient shower heads, switching off the water taps when not using them, and opting for disposing items instead of flushing them down would all lead to a positive impact on our environment.
There are of course, many more ways by which we can contribute to a safer, cleaner, environment with a low carbon footprint.
Go Green – Make the change now!
Author: Nitasha Badhwar: co-founder and Head of strategy at Sunpower Renewables ltd.
Originally Published in the Times of India on March 08, 2022.