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Consider this: The average American lifestyle is responsible for about 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year — the equivalent of driving a gasoline-powered car nonstop for 40,000 miles. Everything we do in our day-to-day lives requires energy. Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of buying raspberries in January, all the selfies you upload to Facebook or what it took to manufacture the new yoga mat you just purchased? Do you think that if you simply make your home more energy efficient, recycle or drive an electric car you are doing your part to decrease your footprint?  

The energy conversation is primarily focused on the environmental impacts of the burning of fossil fuels or the debate over fossil fuels being replaced by renewables, while our consumption habits are often overlooked. We may not be able to call our local electricity provider and ask to have only wind power delivered to our home, but we can change how we shop. We need to understand the cost of what we do every day, change simple habits and start voting with our shopping dollars.

We have selected seven areas not typically associated with daily energy use or carbon emissions. Here are some amazing facts that might make you think differently about your energy use. We also offer some suggestions to help you get motivated to become more energy fit!

Check out our “Follow the Footprint” page and share ideas with others about changes they are making in their everyday lives!



Want to learn more about clothing in today’s world – watch this Ted talk!


What can YOU do?

  1. Shop in resale, consignment or vintage clothing stores and visit your neighbors garage sale.
  2. When buying new clothes, invest in well-made statement pieces that may cost more, but will last longer and typically require a smaller carbon footprint to produce.
  3. Buy clothing made from cotton, linen, wool, hemp or other natural products and avoid man-made synthetics.
  4. See the following for links to sustainable clothing producers:


  1. And don’t have time to take your used clothing to Goodwill? Check out this amazing program and let Amazon ship your unwanted items to Goodwill for you…for free!



  • Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily. About one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted. (https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~kelle20m/classweb/wp/page3.html)
  • It takes 53 Gallons of water to make one latte. Of course the brewing process takes water, but even more water is used to process the coffee and grow the sugar. But the most water intense part of the process is in producing the dairy and growing the coffee beans. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/key-questions-finite-planet
  • And when thinking about food, it is not just what we eat and drink. What about plastic cups, paper plates and disposable utensils? For instance, in the U.S., we use 500 million straws a day! That is enough straw waste to wrap the circumference of the earth 2.5 times or to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year! Now imagine that magnified by global consumption. (http://thelastplasticstraw.org/about-us/)

What can YOU do?

  1. Shop for locally grown and produced foods to cut down on transportation costs.
  2. Buy foods that are in season. Raspberries are great in January, but the carbon footprint to get them to you is large. Need raspberries in January? Try frozen. Frozen food grown in the United States is better for you than fruits and vegetables grown in South America and transported to the United States.  
  3. Take your own coffee mug and ask the coffee shop to refill it instead of using a paper cup. If you are enjoying your coffee there, ask if they have ceramic mugs.
  4. Ask your local restaurants to stop using straws.
  5. Like those new meal delivery services? Check out this website to help you plan family meals while saving money and eliminating the packaging waste from home meal delivery services: https://5dollarmealplan.com/join-erin-letter/?ap_id=moneyning.

Additional Resources:




Entertainment, sports & leisure activities


  • There are 61,000 people in the air over the United States at any given moment of any given day. Tourism is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and aviation emissions are the fastest growing source. (http://www.cii.co.uk/media/4043865/ch14_tourism_and_leisure.pdf)
  • Gym rats, beware: Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes three times a week will boost your carbon footprint by 0.07 metric tons per year. Take it outside and make it zero! 
  • Tourism is the largest growth industry in the world and it accounts for 5-12% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Getting there is only one part, the impact of hotels, pools, restaurants, spas and other amenities contribute as well.
  • Skiing is a $3 billion a year industry. Prior to 1990 making artificial snow was almost unheard of, now practically all ski resorts have to make artificial snow in order to survive. Ski resorts rely on a lot of energy to fuel daily operations – from powering chair lifts to making sure slopes and grounds are well-lit and groomed. 
  • At the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, the Lucas Oil Stadium and related venues used around 15,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power about 1,400 average U.S. homes for a year. (http://www.ibtimes.com/pulse/super-bowl-energy-guzzling-carbon-emitting-machine-heres-what-nfl-doing-about-it-1799874)

What can YOU do?

  1. When tailgating at your favorite events, reduce your use of paper products. Get melamine plates and reuable plastic cups. And don’t forget to recycle all of those beer cans and bottles!
  2. Like camping and the great outdoors, check out these tents that are made from recycled plastic: http://www.greenoutdoor.co.uk
  3. Just like clothing, sports equipment - skis, boots, helmets, bicycles, backpacks, skates, and safety pads - can be recycled. If you are new to a sport or outfitting a growing child, check out your neighborhood for consignment shops specializing in used equipment. It will cost you less and helps protect the environment.
  4. Take an occasional “staycation” and relax at or near home. Exploring your own city as if you were a tourist can be fun and eye-opening!

Additional Resources






Adequate healthcare is needed and necessary.   And many hospitals are making strides in recycling what they can. Three-quarters of hospital waste is non-harzardous waste, which is substantial.

However, many of us take for granted that adequate healthcare IS available. But more than being available, we depend on it being reliable. The majority of items used everyday in hospitals – everything from bandaids to heart valves – contain plastics or latex with the main raw material being petroleum. And while the power that hospitals use may be supplied by a utility that incorporates renewable energy in its mix, it is impossible for hospitals to rely solely on renewable energy for power generation. Until wind and solar can be stored, they are unreliable forms of energy. If you or a loved one are on life saving equipment, intermittent energy is not an option. But until another solution is found, we can still work with hospitals and other healthcare facilities to do what we can to reduce waste through decreased consumption and recycling what we can.


  • The most energy-intensive part of the food chain is the kitchen. Much more energy is used to refrigerate and prepare food in the home than is used to produce it in the first place. Refrigerators in the U.S. consume about the same energy as 25 large power plants produce each year. (http://facts.randomhistory.com/energy-facts.html
  • Our homes have more television sets than people. And those television sets are turned on for more than a third of the day-eight hours, 14 minutes. (http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-09-21-homes-tv_x.html)
  • 99% of the stuff people in North American buy is trashed within 6 months after purchase (https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~kelle20m/classweb/wp/page3.html
  • In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times. Almost all of them ended up in landfills. They are not recyclable. (https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/)

What can YOU do?

  1. Check out the savings to your bottom line with this calculator that helps you determine the savings of old fashioned drip coffee over single serving pods (see link in middle of page): http://archive.boston.com/business/innovation/state-of-play/2013/05/the_k-cup_coffee_conundrum_wha.html
  2. Want great products that are designed to last? The Cradle 2 Cradle Products Innovation Institute is changing the way things are made.   http://www.c2ccertified.org
  3. Turn off the television and rediscover game night! Not only will you save energy, but you will rediscover conversation, certainly find more laughter and stimulate brain cells!

Additional Resources:






  • A Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts of power and nearly as much when idle.
  • Approximately 75% of the electricity used in most American homes is used while the product is turned off. Idle power is a major energy consumer, with the average desktop computer using 80 watts of electricity while turned off. Idle or “phantom” power consumes more electricity than all the solar panels in America combined. (https://www.electricchoice.com/blog/50-surprising-facts-on-energy-consumption/)
  • According to the international Energy Agency or IEA around 4% of the world’s energy consumption in 2008 was due to mass use of information communications technologies. This figure is predicted to rise 40% by the time the year 2030 arrives. (https://itchybrainscentral.com/example-essays/ecology-impact-technology
  • The internet releases around 300m tonnes of CO2 a year – as much as all the coal, oil and gas burned in Turkey or Poland, or more than half of the fossil fuels burned in the UK https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/aug/12/carbon-footprint-internet
  • “Phantom” or standby power accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy use, costing the average U.S. household $100 per year. (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/3-easy-tips-reduce-your-standby-power-loads)

What can YOU do?

  1. Plug related products, such at your tv, game station, DVD player and cable box, into a power strip that can be turned on or off with one button. When not in use, turn the power strip off and those products are truly no longer consuming energy.
  2. For other stand alone products, turn them off unless you are using them. Your microwave, coffee maker, treadmill, etc. do not need to be plugged in all day, only when you need them.

Additional Resources:



If you have additional questions above and beyond the information given here, please feel free to contact us directly and we will gladly answer your individual concerns.