Leaving a Smaller Footprint

What is your carbon footprint? Take the quiz and find out where you rank according to the national average.

I took the quiz. But I answered as an entire family. I know I got penalty points added when I answered the questions about number of bedrooms in my house and how much money we spend on heating oil. But with a larger than average family I actually NEED the extra bedrooms and therefore need to heat them.

But regardless I would hazard to say that all of us can do things to reduce our consumption and lessen our impact on earth.

Did you know that leaving things plugged in, even when they are not being used– such as cell phone chargers, battery chargers, iPods, etc– uses about 10-15% of your total energy load? I had no idea it was that much.

So what can you do to save energy? Brainstorm with your children and see what they come up with. Children are much more likely to get on board with things if they think it is their idea.

Here is a list from the California Energy Commission to start the ideas flowing.

(cross posted at Mommypoints)

14 Responses to “Leaving a Smaller Footprint”

  1. Sue Says:

    Thanks for that link, it was a much better quiz than similar ones I’ve seen before. We actually have five bedrooms which seems a bit excessive for a family with only two (now adult) children, one of whom has left home at least for a while… but we do have a lot of guests. However my ECP score was given as 275, and carbon output 9 tons, which at least is under average. Slightly surprised there as we have two cars (not that we do much mileage - and I don’t drive) and do a long distance flight at least once a year.

  2. Susanne Says:

    Interestingly my score was quite high when I listed the car that belongs to my MIL as ours (and my model wasn’t available, it seems that Americans don’t have small cars). When I put that out of the equation (we use it about once a month) everything looked better instantly.

    There wasn’t a button to choose “don’t use dryer”, or “don’t commute at all because we work at home”, and there wasn’t the option of using trains for long-distant travel which is what we do…

  3. chris Says:

    Susanne, I thought I recalled a section that said public transportation and bike riding etc?

  4. Kamrin Says:

    Woo-hoo! Just when I wasn’t feeling so green, I go and score a 270, with 9 ton output. I feel so much better today! Thanks for this!

  5. Brigitte Says:

    Hmmm. Ours came out ABOVE average, when we already do practically everything on the list, have low mileage and oil usage, a small house, etc. I must have entered stuff wrong, and/or I’m an idiot!

  6. Gift of Green Says:

    Great idea — asking the kiddies for ideas on how they would save energy. Also, putting them in charge of an energy-saving task, like asking one to always make sure the light in the bathroom/kitchen/bedroom whatever is out. You’d be amazed how into it they can get - scary!!

  7. Impromptu-Mom Says:

    This link was very interesting. Thank you! We came out much lower than I expected, and below national average. I wonder how well we could do if we actually tried, lol.

  8. Amy Says:

    Thanks for posting that link! I know you get a lot of readers on your page and I think it’s important to spread awareness of our carbon footprint.
    On a sidenote, my husband and I… desperate to do more, have started our own company - if you are interested you can check out our more earth friendly napkins at http://www.earthnapkins.com :) We have some great tips and websites on there as well!
    Here’s to being a little greener…

  9. Fairly Odd Mother Says:

    Ick, ours was a bit higher than I expected but I was guesstimating on our monthly electric and gas bills; also guessed on my husband’s car’s mileage which may be much lower than I thought. I’d like to think we do some things right, but there is definitely room for improvement.

  10. Rebecca Says:

    I came out just below average, like 4 points. I didn’t know that about chargers. I always leave mine plugged in because it’s more convenient. We live on post and don’t pay utility bills but soon they are going to create baselines and charge for exceeding past $15 above the baseline so I will be more aware of our energy usage.

  11. Heather Says:

    when i was younger we had someone who’s job was to be the light captain. it rotated between myself and my brother and sister. the light captain’s job was to patrol the house and turn off lights in empty rooms.

    i couldn’t figure out our number’s standing on the national average, but it’s hard with kids and bills and a mortgage to be super green. it’s so expensive, especially when you add organic products into the mix.

  12. Anna Hackman Says:

    Heather, I love that idea of the light captain. I have a few teenagers and turning off the lights is a foriegn concept. (I should rephrase that asking your teenager to do anything is a foriegn concept…)

    Rebecca-there is product out there now called Smart strip (an electrical power strip) sold by SmartHomesUSA .com I wrote an article about it on my website, http://www.green-talk.com, which basically helps eliminate your phathom loads (computers, tv, etc that are plugged in but not on.) I have not used it myself but want to get a couple for my printer, tvs, etc and see how much my electric bill goes down!

    Chris, this is my first time visiting your site and your other blog. My hats off to you for raising 7 kids and keeping a sense of humor. I have four and sometimes I think my sense of humor is with all the missing socks at my house.

  13. stephanie Says:

    we just spent a week camping and it was so nice to have no computer and no cell phone and to clean and put everything away when we were done. I wonder if we can keep this going at home… done with it? unplug it and put it away. don’t want to carry it? get rid of it. my score always goes up because I go visit the capital-F Family on the other coast. Guess I can’t be to Pious in my Prius.

  14. Ln Says:

    It’s an interesting site, thanks for sharing it, but I wish they’d tweak it a little for those of us with “real winter”. It’s hard for me to answer questions like “average thermostat setting” when I set it to 78 in July and 68 in February. I can do the math to figure out the average, but I don’t think it’s going to lead to accurate results.

    My footprint was way above average, and I do try. But I included my sister’s vehicle (she’s part of our household), in many ways we’re actually 2 households.

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