Let’s add it up! Our Carbon Footprint

This blog is plastered with the phrase CARBON FOOTPRINT and one of the primary goals of our family is to reduce our carbon footprint.  But, what’s a carbon footprint?

Your CARBON FOOTPRINT is a measurement of the impact that you as an individual and/or household have on the environment.  It is measured in metric tons (tonnes or kg) and is equivalent to the number of greenhouse gases that are produced by our lifestyle and choices.

The primary goal of the Ferry Family is to reduce our carbon footprint.  The term encompasses all of our decisions: reducing our waste, purchasing organic, supporting local businesses, eliminating packaged products and artificial chemicals from our home and harnessing sustainable methods for sustenance.

I calculated the carbon footprint for the Ferry Family for 2009.  It is data for our household as a whole – the three of us.  This information came from a wonderfully informative website www.carbonfootprint.com.  It is a plug and chug set up, where you input the information and the website generates your carbon footprint.  Unfortunately, our footprint for 2009 looks a little too much like a footprint…

This information will be be recalculated at the end of 2010 and presented here.

Your footprint is 35.61 metric tons per year The average footprint for people in United States is 20.40 metric tons The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons

Your Carbon Footprint:

House 6.17 metric tons of CO2
Flights 1.01 metric tons of CO2
Car 16.00 metric tons of CO2
Motorbike 0.00 metric tons of CO2
Bus & Rail 0.00 metric tons of CO2
Other Fuel 0.88 metric tons of CO2
Secondary 8.97 metric tons of CO2

Total To Offset = 33.02 metric tons of CO2

  • Your footprint is 33.02 metric tons per year
  • The average footprint for people in United States is 20.40 metric tons
  • The average for the industrial nations is about 11 metric tons
  • The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 metric tons
  • The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 metric tons

Below is a detailed list of the questions that were answered and the information that was entered.  The information is based on real data: e.g. Puget Sound Electricity bills for 2009, odometer readings for vehicles,  etc.


  • 1.82 metric tons: 16,353 kWh of electricity in Washington
  • 4.36 metric tons: 752 US gallons of propane


  • 0.50 metric tons: Round trip, Economy class direct return flight from Bellingham to Oakland
  • 0.50 metric tons: Round trip, Economy class direct return flight from Bellingham to San Francisco


  • 12.81 metric tons: 20,000 miles in a 2007 TOYOTA TUNDRA 4WD 5.7, Auto(S6)
  • 3.18 metric tons: 8,000 miles in a (1994 Ford Taurus 4 door) Medium gasoline car from 1.4 – 2.0 litre


  • 0.88 metric tons: 100 US gallons of petrol (40 gallons for our lawn mower, 50 gallons for our boat, 10 gallons for our ATV)

PERSONAL SECONDARY: these variable questions were answered based on lifestyle choices for 2009

  • Food preferences: I eat a mix of white and red meat
  • Organic Produce: I never buy or grow organic food, or don’t know what we buy
  • In season food: I try to buy or grow some in season food
  • Imported food and goods: I don’t notice where goods come from
  • Fashion: I buy new clothes when I need them
  • Packaging: I only buy things which are nicely packaged
  • Furniture and electricals: I mostly buy new but generally keep things for more than five years
  • Recycling: Some of my waste is recycled
  • Recreation: I often go out to places like the movies, bars and restaurants
  • Car manufacture: I own two cars
  • Finance and other services: I use the standard range of financial services

After calculating our carbon footprint, the website offered the following “products/services” to offset our family’s personal carbon footprint…  The data illustrated the oxymoron that is the American lifestyle.  It’s expensive to live it and expensive to clean up after it.  It makes sense that energy saved is a dollar saved.

To offset your personal carbon footprint of 33.02 tonnes of CO2, you have the following options.

Reforestation in Kenya

Reforestation in Kenya

Your pledge funds the planting of native broad leaved trees in the Great Rift Valley. The project is coordinated by ESCONET, and is also supported by the Red Cross.

from $ 402.69 to pledge 34 trees
($ 11.84 per tree)

Reforestation in Kenya Certificate

Clean Energy Portfolio

Clean Energy Portfolio

Your funding supports VCS verified carbon reduction projects around the world which reduce carbon emissions through the displacement of fossil fuels through clean / renewable energy generation.

from $ 430.20 incl. 17.5% VAT to offset 33.02 tonnes
($ 13.03 incl. 17.5% VAT per tonne)

Clean Energy Portfolio Certificate

Americas Portfolio

Americas Portfolio

We support carbon offsetting projects within North America, Central & South America – including reforestation & renewable energy production. Current pledge funds will be used in our American reforestation program in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico endorsed by the UNEP, which also provides sustainable socio-economic benefits.

from $ 456.27 incl. 17.5% VAT to offset 33.02 tonnes
($ 13.82 incl. 17.5% VAT per tonne)

Americas Portfolio Certificate

UK Tree Planting

UK Tree Planting

Your pledge funds the planting of trees in the UK region of your choice. Supporting wildlife habitats whilst offsetting your carbon emissions.

from $ 617.46 incl. 17.5% VAT to pledge 34 trees
($ 18.16 incl. 17.5% VAT per tree)

Choose region: Northern Ireland Scotland North West North East Yorkshire & Humber Wales West Midlands East Midlands South West South East London & Thames East of England

UK Tree Planting Certificate

Certified Emission Reduction

Certified Emission Reduction

Your funding supports Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects that have generated CER credits. These projects are fully verified to Kyoto / United Nations standards via an independent Designated Operating Entity. CDM projects support sustainable development in developing countries through projects such as Wind Energy, Hydro Power and Biomass.

from $ 860.39 to offset 33.02 tonnes
($ 26.06 per tonne)

Certified Emission Reduction Certificate

I don’t like seeing the numbers for 2009.  But, we are into 2010 and we are making conscious decisions to reduce our carbon footprint.  Onward and upward!

This entry was posted in home & hearth, waste not, want not. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Let’s add it up! Our Carbon Footprint

  1. Onward and downward! I’m curious…did you calculate your footprint before and after the change from truck to Prius?

  2. sacredbee says:

    No – this calculation is only based on the energy we used and the lifestyle we had as of December 31, 2009. I have not altered the info to reflect the changes we have made so far.

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