Cut Carbon Footprints, Save Green


Going green can do more than help save the planet. It can save and make you money.

By taking stock of your lifestyle and travels, you can get a view of your carbon footprint and learn online how to reduce it. Here are a few tools that can guide you.

The Nature Conservancy

With this group’s carbon footprint calculator, you can find out how you and your household impact the earth’s climate (and how that compares with average Americans) by taking into account your home energy use, how much you drive and fly, how you eat and whether you recycle.

Whether or not you cave more energy than your peers, the site suggests ways you can help prevent climate chang. Examples include teleconferencing instead of flying to a meeting, using compact fluorescent light bulbs and keeping your tires fully inflated to get the best gas mileage. These moves will not only save energy, but save money as well.

One Million Acts of Green

This site, sponsored by technology company Cisco Systems (Stock Quote: CSCO) uses aspects of social networking to rally the environmentally-conscious to challenge and encourage each other to modify their lives in big and small ways.

Several other site suggestions can also help you save on food and energy costs: grow your own vegetables, close your curtains on hot summer days and use your washer, dryer and dishwasher in the evenings.

Exchanging Your Emissions … For Money!

Even better, using My Emissions Exchange, you can actually earn money by reducing your carbon footprint.

You’ll have to enter information on your electricity and heating usage in the past year to see where you stand, and continue to enter this information every month. When you reduce your carbon footprint by a pound, you earn a carbon credit that’s paid for by the marketing budgets of various large corporations with green initiatives meant to offset their own effect on the planet.

If you reduce your carbon footprint by 10% to 15%, you could save $400 to $700 on your utility bills, and earn between $40 and $60 per year, which you’ll receive through a PayPal account, says Paul Herrgesell, Vice President of My Emissions Exchange. But you’ll have to make sure that your energy usage stays down.

“The core of [energy] savings that’s going to occur will be from individuals like you and I,” Herrgesell adds. And that doesn’t mean you have to install solar panels. You can start with using compact fluorescent bulbs throughout your home and staying aware of how often you have your lights and appliances on, he says. A bright idea to say the least.

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