We should all be concerned with Global Warming and each do what we can to reduce the amount of CO2 released into our atmosphere. There are three steps you can use to lower your impact while traveling; using carbon offsets for travel to your destination, choosing carbon light accommodations, and paying attention to how you move about your destination.
Air Travel Carbon Offsets
It is difficult to get around the emissions that the airplane produces while shuttling you to your destination. Currently the best option is for you to purchase a carbon offset. There are numerous non profit organizations that use the money from your carbon offset donation to aid in the development of sustainable energy sources such as wind power or solar electric generation. Other carbon offset programs plant trees to soak up the carbon produced during your flight. Carbon offsets are not that expensive either. A carbon offset calculated on Carbonfund.org for a roundtrip flight from San Francisco to Paris would be only $11. Of course carbon offset can also be used for any travel mode that produces carbon emission be it by car, train, or ship.
A potentially less polluting lodging option to consider is a vacation apartment or home. When you stay in a vacation rental you are in control of the energy use – just as you are in your own home. Hotels use a tremendous amount of energy for heat, air conditioning, daily linen changes, and all the other services they offer. Your vacation rental will not be consuming huge amounts of electricity 24/7 365 days a year as the hotel does. You can conscientiously limit the amount energy you use by turning off the heating or Air conditioning while you are out visiting the sights. You can use the linens and towels just as you do at home.
Of course we all love to eat out and enjoy the cuisine of the region we are visiting but restaurants also use and waste large amounts of energy contributing to CO2 emissions due to climate control and keeping the kitchen and dining area ON constantly. With a vacation rental you do not have to eat all of your meals in restaurants, with your own kitchen available you can fix some of your meals further lowering your energy use and carbon load. Buying local produce at farmers markets will even further reduce your carbon footprint. Locally grown produce produces much less greenhouse gases due to shorter transportation distances.
Renting a vacation rental in a foreign land is not difficult as you might think. One can find excellent online reservation sites to book directly with the owners such as slowtrav.com or greatrentals.com. If you would like a little more help there are numerous agencies that know the properties well and can assist you in finding the best rental for your needs.
While visiting your destination of course the cleanest way to get around will be to walk, bike, take the bus, street tram, or use the metro trains in the cities. In larger European cities such as Paris or Berlin you can take advantage of the street bike rental programs. Bikes are parked throughout the city ready to ride with the swipe of a credit card. Bike to your destination and simply lock the bike up and you are on your way. Not only will you be doing the planet a favor but you gain the potential for discovering a unique sight or connecting with the locals when you are not trapped inside a car or taxi. If your accommodations are not located near public transportation and you must rent a car you can minimize the carbon emissions by requesting a Diesel vehicle. In certain destinations you can even rent Hybrid vehicles which of course reduce the carbon footprint even further.
We can all make a difference to help clean our air and reduce global warming emissions by the choices we make when we spend our money. We hope you find these ideas helpful for planning your next trip so that you can travel carbon light.
Carbon footprint can be defined as an estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide that can be produced from your lifestyle. Food and beverage, the usage of electricity at home and methods of travel are some factors which affect the level of carbon footprint that you produce.
Each Individual produces on average about 7.5 tons of CO2 per year. If you think about reducing your carbon footprint, change your lifestyle little by little depending on your ability. If you want to know how much your carbon footprint is, you can check by using a carbon footprint calculator online, just type “carbon footprint calculator online” on the search engine such as Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask, then tons of websites will appears, after that you can start to calculate your own carbon footprint.
Vegetarians are the best! Based on research, the energy that is produced by one kilogram of meat is similar to the energy that is produced by 15 kilograms of wheat. Imagine how we can save the earth from food shortages if we’re all vegetarian. The farm is also contributing 18% carbon emissions of the world, which is greater than the transportation sector (cars, motorcycle, aircraft, etc.). In addition, the danger of greenhouse gases which is produced by other livestock activities that could produce methane which is 23 times more dangerous than CO2 and NO gas is 300 times more than CO2.
There are so many simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint like:
1. Buy local products. The produce of local agricultural farms etc is inexpensive and also can save the energy, especially if we calculate the energy and the transportation cost. Organic foods are more environmentally friendly, but you must check it out too. If imported from other regions, the effect of carbon emissions would possibly be greater than the benefits.
2. Bring a bag that can be reused. Bring your own shopping bags, so you will reduce the amount of plastic bags which is required. In recent years, several large shopping centers have been starting to educate the consumers to use these ways.
3. Maximize the natural lighting. Use bright colors on the walls, use glass tiles in the ceiling, maximize light through the window.
4. Use washable cups.
5. Lower the temperature of your air conditioner. Avoid using the maximum temperature. Ultimately this will save money on your electricity bill.
6. Use energy-saving bulbs. Although these can be expensive, they are eight times more powerful and more efficient, up to 90% more efficient than normal incandescent lamps.
7. When you are recharging the battery, remove it immediately when it is full!
8. Cut food in smaller size. The smaller pieces will use less energy to cook.
9. Turn off unused lights and do not leave water dripping. Besides saving the energy and the clean water, this will save your money too.
10. Cut your time in opening your refrigerator. Because for every minute you open the refrigerator door, it will need three minutes of full energy to restore the temperature of refrigerator to the desired temperature.
There are many more ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but at least you can make a start by adopting the ten ways above.
What is your carbon footprint?
In basic terms it is a measure of all the greenhouse gases we produce as individuals, businesses and societies.
What are greenhouse gases?
Greenhouse gases are present in the atmosphere and help to retain the earth’s heat. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most well known and significant greenhouse gas. Others include methane, nitrous oxide, HFCs, PFCs. Some are naturally occuring, while others are man made.
What is the significance?
Without greenhouse gases the heat from the sun would be re-radiated back into space and the earth would be too cold to live on. However, too high a concentration of greenhouse gas results in a trapping of the heat and an increase in the Earth’s surface temperature. This increase in turn creates climate change – sea level increases, rain patterns and increased storm severity, etc.
What is required is a stabilisation in the level of greenhouse gases so that energy re-radiated back into space equals the energy coming from the sun, at present rates greenhouse gases output are increasing at alarming rates.
What can we do about this?
We as individuals, businesses, regions and countries can all take action to manage and reduce our carbon footprint. In order to do this it is important to understand how to measure this output. There are some useful resources for calculating your carbon footprint available on the internet.
However these calculators are by nature simplistic and cannot respond to individual nuances or circumstances. What this calculator (and others) does not reflect is the emissions as a result of our choices as consumers – the ‘hidden’ consumption element. What is our energy producer doing to reduce their emissions? How environmentally responsible are the companies you buy products from? How many food miles are required to supply your meals on a weekly basis? Are the products we purchase contained in unnecessary moulded plastic packaging?
When one mentions the word global warming, an image of Jeremy Clarkson defending the usage of cars and denying their impact onto the environment comes into mind! The UK alone has become aware of the impending doom of the earth’s temperature rising by five degrees by the end of the century, causing rising sea levels, famine, drought and an increase in unpredictable weather conditions. As much as many believe that this is something of a myth, it is in fact something that is affecting us today.
When people are not aware of the adverse result of global warming the thought of global warming becomes something of an annoyance. However, many people have seen the carbon footprint adverts on TV and will question what this is about. How does one measure their own carbon footprint in their homes and what should one do to improve their carbon management? These are just a couple of questions arising from the doom of global warming, which I intend to answer in the simplest manner.
Businesses, companies, homes, schools and hospitals all contribute to global warming and are all subject to better carbon management. A carbon footprint is the measurement of carbon dioxide released and impacted by human activity. This measures how much humans affect the earth in terms of releasing greenhouse gases. Carbon emissions can be in the form of using your car, keeping lights on in the house unnecessarily, using too much electricity (such as keeping your computer on for prolonged periods of time) and much more.
Steps can be made to reduce the amount of carbon emission in the form of keeping the general everyday usage of things that may emit a higher level of carbon into the atmosphere at low number. The government began steps after the Kyoto Protocol which was aimed at legally binding targets to reduce the amount carbon emissions from main cities and surrounding areas. Working towards reducing the amount of greenhouse emissions is just one step to preventing the effects of global warming.
The media have also played an important role in passing on information about carbon emissions. Often some of the information can be distorted with myths on what can be construed as leaving your carbon footprint. Larger industries and businesses emit the most amount of carbon dioxide, which is much of the carbon management strategies are aimed at reducing carbon emissions in a typical office setting.
The most effective way of reducing carbon emissions is through automating the monitoring process, which will work on monitoring a live emission of carbon throughout the day. This will also enable companies to take control of how much energy they use from their equipment. Reducing carbon emissions from home can be as simple as switching your electricity company to another company which uses renewable sources. Also simple measures such as recycling basic materials such as paper, card, plastic and glass will help. Other instances such using your car less to travel to local areas, keeping your water usage controlled and not wasting water usage.
A new book published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), along with International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, United Nations Development Program, Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Bank has pointed out that establishing nature reserves is an effective method to resolve the climate change. The foreword of the book wrote by Nicholas. Sir Nicholas Stern said how the nature reserves had played the important role in climate change was first introduced in the book called Natural Solutions. At the same time, how to reduce the impact of climate change by nature reserves was explained clearly in the book.
The nature reserves play an important role in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions. 15% of the terrestrial carbon sink in the world was stored in nature reserves around the world. In Canada, more than 40 million tons of carbon dioxide being stored in 39 National Park, which’s value is equal to 39-87 billion dollars of carbon credits. In the Brazilian Amazon, about 670,000 square kilometers of the forest will be avoided being degraded in 2050 because of nature reserves. Some natural disasters such as flood, debris flow disaster and storm all can be relieved by nature reserves. It is estimated that 232 billion dollars was saved owing to avoid flood caused by the typhoon in American coastal wetlands every year.
Nature reserves can ensure the health and richness of natural resources, which leads to resist climate change and offers food, clean water, shelter and income for community residents. The drinking water of 33 cities, included in the global biggest 100 cities, are from the stored water in nature reserves.
Veerle Vanderweerd, a NDP Energy and Environment Officer, said the living environment in rural is being threatened by climate change. If there was no immediate action, the living conditions will worsen.
Trevor Sandwith, the vice president of Nature protection association and the IUCN world nature reserve committee said expanding the coverage of nature reserves, in fact, is an effective measure to resist climate change.
Climate negotiations are under discussion in Copenhagen and 2010, the year of international biodiversity, is coming. Expanding the range of nature reserves is an effective weapon to resist climate change.
An appropriate mantra for any organisation committed to Green IT should be ” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. Organisations should use the Green IT programme as an ideal opportunity to reduce the amount of legacy IT equipment that is currently installed on their infrastructure. Replacement of older PCs with Energy efficient (Gold EPEAT rating) PCs should be considered, and if this is not financially or logistically viable at least replace any old CRT terminals that are still in use with far more efficient LCD models. In recent tests, the average energy usage of a traditional 20-inch CRT VGA monitor was sixty three percent higher than a 20-inch wide-screen LCD monitor. Another option for organisations may be to upgrade from a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) to a light-emitting diode (LED).
Another consideration for organisations is to reduce the number of PCs that exist on their infrastructure by ensuring they only provide one PC per user. In fact many organisations are implementing PC sharing schemes to reduce the PC estate to less than one PC per user. This initiative is becoming more viable and accepted especially as modern workforces nowadays tend to be more fluid than static and job-sharing schemes become more popular. Away from the workplace, users are already used to sharing PCs, for example when visiting libraries and internet cafes. It is essential of course that security issues are identified and addressed. Whenever an individual uses a computer, its cookies, browser history and other settings save the information that has been accessed. It is therefore essential that all the files and settings are deleted once the user logs off, and before the next user accesses the machine. To ensure the user’s data and files are kept safe a robust password and data access process needs to be implemented.
There are many different ways in which an organisation can reuse unwanted, retired or legacy infrastructure. A best practice Asset and Configuration Management process will assist an organisation in identifying where assets can be re-assigned and reused. As we have already discussed earlier in the book, a popular practice is the passing on of unwanted infrastructure to schools or charitable organisations. This is an initiative that organisations may wish to manage themselves or carry out using a specialist 3rd party, for example Computer Aid.
In addition to reusing infrastructure, organisations should also consider recycling the remaining infrastructure that cannot be reused. To enable more effective and efficient recycling, organisations should only source electrical products that are designed so they can be easily disassembled to component level, using universally available tools. The ultimate aim for any organisation is to ensure no electronic or electrical waste is disposed of in a landfill site.
1) Virtualisation to Support Green IT
At its simplest level, virtualisation allows you to have two or more computers, running two or more completely different environments, on one piece of hardware. For example, with virtualisation you can have two different Operating Systems on one system; alternatively, you could host a MS Windows XP desktop and a MS Windows Vista desktop on one workstation. Virtualisation essentially decouples users and applications from the specific hardware characteristics of the systems they use.
2) Data Centre Management and Improvement
IT data centres are potentially the largest contributor to an organisation’s carbon footprint and must become more efficient if organisations are going to reduce their overall environmental impact.
Further research has indicated that electricity consumed in data centres, including enterprise servers, ICT equipment, cooling equipment and power equipment, is expected to contribute substantially to the electricity consumed in commercial sector in the near future. Western European electricity consumption of data centres has been estimated at 56 TWh/year in 2007 and is projected to increase to 104 TWh/year by 2020.
The projected energy consumption rise poses a problem for European Union energy and environmental policies. It is important that the energy efficiency of data centres is maximised to ensure that the carbon emissions and other impacts, such as the strain on infrastructure associated with increases in energy consumption, are mitigated.
3) Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS)
For many organisations wishing to improve the efficiency of their data centres and its associated green credentials, there are three main and distinct options.
The first is to design and build a brand new state-of-the-art data centre, incorporating the latest in data centre efficiency design and environmental standards.
The second is to improve, where possible, the existing data centre and consider implementing fairly low risk and low cost initiatives such as using energy meters to break down energy usage to the level of components such as server, switch, storage area networks (SANs) and uninterrupted power supplies (UPS). Organisations will then have the option of using the data to perform component level improvements. Other options include using CPU throttling on servers, to measure the range of power consumed under a variety of loads, and again use the data to improve capacity performance; and finally thermal profiling to identify hot spots and overcooling.
The third option, which many organisations are now considering adopting, is to outsource the data centre to a specialist 3rd party supplier. With this option comes the opportunity for organisations to completely re-think their entire IT strategy and consider alternative ways of working, including Software as a Service (SaaS) and Cloud Computing.
Software as a Service is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on demand. SaaS vendors host the application on their own web servers and download the application to the consumer device. Increased high-speed bandwidth makes it practical to locate infrastructure at other sites and still receive the same levels or improved levels of service.
Conceptually, Cloud Computing is difficult to define and can be interpreted in many different ways; it doesn’t seem to have a standardised definition. However there is some consistent terminology used when describing Cloud Computing — words such as ‘distributed’, ‘scalability’ and of course ‘virtualisation’.
In its simplest form Cloud Computing is distributed or utility computing over the internet. This basically means that an organisation’s computing services can be hosted by specialist third party suppliers rather than using ‘in-house’ local data centres. From the organisation’s perspective this means that there is no longer a requirement for organisations to own or manage their own infrastructure, since it is bought as a service and the maintenance of the infrastructure becomes the responsibility of the Service Provider.
4) Remote and Location-Independent Working
There are now many different technologies available for organisations who wish to provide the option to their employees of working from home or from satellite locations. These IT remote access solutions include, but are not restricted to, webcams, instant messaging, voice – conferencing and internet video calling solutions such as Skype.
The green benefits for organisations include reduced travel leading to fewer vehicles on the road and therefore reduced carbon emissions, and a reduction in the number of corporate buildings needed, leading to reduced energy requirements, due to less heating and lighting. Another advantage that may not be immediately identifiable is that by providing remote working solutions, staff based at home on a permanent basis can be excluded from needing seats at any recovery arrangements organised with the IT Service Continuity process. This could lead to reduced recovery requirements which could have a positive effect on CO2 emissions.
However careful consideration needs to be given before making a decision to embark on this very different method of working. Organisations will have to seriously consider the health and safety elements of remote working and the social impact of employees working in isolation from their colleagues. Lastly, organisations are going to have to implement the initiative with extreme care and diligence to ensure that they are not simply transferring the organisation’s carbon footprint to the individuals working remotely.
Our body needs energy to work and in the same way, a machine needs electricity or energy of any substance to run. For different machines and automobiles we use different means of energy such as; Coal, petroleum and natural gas. But these days the use of renewable energy is in vogue which is the energy produced out of the natural sources like sunlight, wind, tide and rain. The major types of renewable energy are: Solar energy, Wind energy, Bio mass energy.
The renewable energy is preferred more by the whole today because of its extra-ordinary advantages. We have been using the energy of the fossil fuels, produced by burning it which has kept the whole world on the edge of the devastation. Today, the world is towards the way of harnessing the natural sources for the energy to save the world from further global warming. The renewable energy does not emit any kind of toxic gases which can be fatal for the earth and another merit is it is the replenished energy. Among all the natural sources, the sun is the incessant mean, giving amazing output. The sun throws the heat and light directly on the earth almost daily (except few places) and the solar collectors collect the rays and transfer them into the form of electricity or heat which can be very helpful. Solar energy provides electricity to heat water and to heat or cool homes, businesses or industry. It is being preferable because it is a clean and renewable source of energy. The sunlight when converted into electricity is also called the solar power. If the use of renewable energy will be increased then the next generation will be able to live in the realm of pure environment.
There are many energy sources today that are extremely limited in supply. Some of these sources include oil, natural gas, and coal. It is a matter of time before they will be exhausted.
Estimates are that they can only meet our energy demands for another fifty to seventy years. So in an effort to find alternative forms of energy, the world has turned to renewable energy sources as the solution. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this.
Renewable energy sources consist of solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass. The most common advantage of each is that they are renewable and cannot be depleted. They are a clean energy, as they don’t pollute the air, and they don’t contribute to global warming or greenhouse effects. Since their sources are natural the cost of operations is reduced and they also require less maintenance on their plants. A common disadvantage to all is that it is difficult to produce the large quantities of electricity their counterpart the fossil fuels are able to. Since they are also new technologies, the cost of initiating them is high.
Solar energy makes use of the sun’s energy. It is advantageous because the systems can fit into existing buildings and it does not affect land use. But since the area of the collectors is large, more materials are required. Solar radiation is also controlled by geography. And it is limited to daytime hours and non-cloudy days.
Wind energy uses the power of the wind to produce electricity. Although it is the largest job producer, it is reliant on strong winds. Wind turbines are large and, although you can use the area under them for farming, many consider them unattractive looking. They are also very noisy to operate. In addition, they threaten the wild bird population.
Hydroelectric energy uses water to produce power. This is the most reliable of all the renewable energy sources. On the down side, it affects ecology and causes downstream problems. The decay of vegetation along the riverbed can cause the buildup of methane. Methane is a contributing gas to greenhouse effect. Dams can also alter the natural river flow and affect wildlife. Colder, oxygen poor water can be released into the river, killing fish. And the release of water from the dam can cause flooding.
Geothermal energy uses steam from the Earth’s ground to generate power. It uses smaller land areas than other power plants. They can run 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Disadvantages are that it is very site specific and, along with the heat from the Earth, it can also bring up toxic chemicals when obtaining the steam. Drilling geothermal reservoirs and finding them can be an expensive task.
Biomass electricity is produced through the energies from wood, agricultural and municipal waste. It helps save on landfill waste but transportation can be expensive and ecological diversity of land may be affected. In addition, its process needs to be made simpler.
Ocean energy is a clean and abundant energy form. It does, however, have high costs. Ocean thermal energy also requires close to a forty degree Fahrenheit difference in water temperature year round. In addition, construction and laying pipes can cause damage to the ecosystem.
There are many advantages to the use of renewable energy sources. There are also some disadvantages. The fact is energy demands will continue to increase. Through research and development, as well as, new technologies, the hope is many of the disadvantages of renewable sources of energy can be eliminated and we can successfully incorporate it into our power supplies.
Carbon offsetting is a not only a practical method to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but it is also a core approach to raising our society’s awareness and reducing our impact on the environment. The time when Global warming has become one of the world’s most pressing concerns, it’s only natural that you’ll want to limit the impact of your carbon footprints to save the environment. Carbon offsetting is a stop-gap to at least begin to move us towards neutralizing the greenhouse gases we are creating.
Our carbon footprints are the measures by which we can know that how badly we have affected our environment by using natural resources to cater our daily needs. We know fossil fuels like crude oil, coal and natural gas, being made up of hydrocarbons release carbon dioxide when burned and this is the carbon dioxide which is the prime accused of global warming along with some other similar gases which are also a cause of human activities and industrialization. The carbon dioxide which is released to the atmosphere remains there for 100 to 200 years. This leads to an increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, which in turn causes the average temperature on Earth to rise.
Every human daily activity could be blamed for an increase in the percentage of carbon in the atmosphere but industrialization has worsened the situation. Probably Businesses are the biggest contributors to Global warming for the fact that they emerged more carbon dioxide gas in the environment. Every business causes a direct impact on the environment by using enormous amount of energy to run its office and maintain its staff needs.
For every human being the best way to reduce his/her carbon footprint is to change his/her lifestyle but as far as businesses are concerned, there is need of some effective measures to imply to reduce their carbon footprints. Carbon offsetting is best way to compensate business carbon footprints. Business carbon offsets let you pay to reduce the global GHG (greenhouse gas) total instead of making radical or impossible reductions of your own. Investing in energy efficient projects is a must for every business that has a care for its employees as corporate carbon management is an innovative practice which is not only beneficial for the businesses applying them but also for their customers, business partners and on a whole for everyone.
When it comes to global warming, every little counts and a small step taken today can safe our planet for the generations to come. If you have already made changes to your lifestyle, you might need to go a little further to offset your carbon emissions and purchasing a carbon offset is a great way to achieve a carbon neutral status to let the world know that you care. If you are running a business, you have a responsibility to keep any pollution that may result from your business activities under control.