October 4, 2023

Home Architecture

The Extraordinary Design

Why Pay For Carbon Offsets When Energy Efficiency Is So Inexpensive?

3 min read

While carbon offsets might be based on the concept of emissions trading it is, currently, an unregulated field. While emissions trading is regulated by a strict formal and legal framework, carbon offsets are generally arranged by commercial or not-for-profit carbon-offset providers. Until strict formal standards and certifications are set for carbon offsetting I’m forced to look at other options.

What are Carbon Offsets?

Carbon offsetting is the act of mitigating (or “offsetting”) greenhouse gas emissions or carbon dioxide emissions. A common example of carbon offsetting or the use of carbon offsets is the purchase of “carbon offsets” in an attempt to compensate for the carbon dioxide production caused by personal air travel.

The underlying idea based on the concept of emissions trading. Someone who over pollutes pays someone who under pollutes to compensate. While emissions trading is regulated by a strict formal and legal framework, carbon offsets are generally arranged by commercial or not-for-profit carbon-offset providers. It is only today that formal standards and certifications for voluntary carbon offsets are starting to emerge.

Carbon offsets come in a variety of forms and flavors – while tree planting was initially a mainstay of carbon offsetting, renewable energy, energy conservation and methane capture offsets have become popular.

What is Energy Efficiency?

Making homes, vehicles, and businesses more energy efficient has been a largely untapped solution to global warming and energy security. While many of these ideas have been discussed for years it wasn’t until the 1973 oil crisis that these ideas were brought to the forefront.

California is a perfect example of energy efficiency and it’s benefit. In the mid-1980s California modified its building codes and appliance standards. The modifications included strict efficiency requirements. The result – while national US energy consumption doubled, California energy consumption remained approximately flat on a per capita basis.

How can I inexpensively apply Energy Efficiency to reduce my Carbon Footprint?

The key to inexpensively applying energy efficiency in your own home is identifying the products and services that offer you a fast return on your investment and then future forward you’ll reap the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint.

CFLs or compact fluorescent lamps use less power to supply the same amount of light as an incandescent lamp of the same lumen rating thus they can be used to decrease energy consumption at the location in which they are used. CFLs are however more expensive then more traditional incandescent bulbs. In the long run however a CFL will save your about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime according to the EPA Energy Star specifications.

Looking for more bang for your buck? Try to focus on the areas where you utilize the most electricity. While you can get a 75% reduction in electricity usage using a CFL vs. and incadescent that only nets you an average $30 savings over the course of a year. Areas such as air conditioning, when optimized with energy efficiency, can provide much more significant savings.

If you don’t think your AC is a major portion of your monthly electric bill then think again. According to the Con Edison Energy Company of New York if you keep your thermostat at an average temperature of 78 degrees then your air conditioning only accounts for about 56% of your total electric bill. If you are like me and keep your thermostat a bit cooler at an average temperature of 72 degrees then your air conditioning can account for up to an astounding 95% of your total monthly electrical bill.

How can you optimize your AC? Maintaining your AC properly over its lifetime will reduce your AC expenses. Simply maintaining clean air filters helps. You can also only use third party add-on products like the Cool-N-Save(tm) Air Conditioning Pre-Cooling System. The Cool-N-Save(tm), an Energy Star Partner, uses the principles of energy efficiency to reduce your AC electric usage by up to 30% each month. Unlike the CFLs which only give you a small net ROI, in most states the Cool-N-Save(tm) is paid for by your first month’s savings.

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