Carbon Free Foot Print Program
EcoRealtors, through the EcoRealtors Costa Rica Foundation, has implemented a Carbon Footprint Program, which helps residents of the Southern Zone measure their direct and indirect impact on the environment, and then take steps to reduce or mitigate this impact.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon foot print represents the amount of greenhouse gasses that a person (or a family, business, community or country) produces. These gasses contribute directly to the phenomenon of climate change, and measuring your footprint enables you to determine the extent of your contribution, measured in tons of carbon.
Although the primary reason to undertake a Carbon Footprint exercise is to measure and reduce one’s impact on climate change, it is also an excellent way to reduce one’s impact on the environment in general, as almost everything one does involves the use of energy in one way or another. In addition, reducing consumption of energy and other resources usually translates directly into saving money.
Typically, a carbon footprint is divided into two parts. The primary footprint measures the direct use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels for transportation, electricity and other uses. The secondary footprint is an indirect measure of the emissions related to the manufacture, transportation, packaging, etc. of consumer goods.
Fortunately, in Costa Rica, up to 90% of the electricity produced is from renewable sources that do not emit carbon dioxide into the environment. In addition, the tropical climate means that energy is not needed to heat buildings. However, the use of air conditioning is on the rise throughout the country, and more and more Ticos are adopting the energy-intensive lifestyle of developed countries, particularly increasing reliance on private cars for transportation and greater use of electrical appliances.
In addition, the phenomenon of climate change in Costa Rica is predicted to increase the production of greenhouse gasses in two ways: First, significantly hotter temperatures are predicted for most of the country, which will increase demand for electricity to power air conditioners. Second, dryer weather, which is already being experienced – will reduce the output of hydroelectric plants, forcing increased reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity.
Costa Rica is aiming to become the first carbon-neutral country in the world by 2021, by increasing the production of clean renewable electricity, planting trees, promoting the use of hybrid and electric vehicles, and promoting conservation of energy. Although Costa Rica has most of the elements in place to achieve this goal, many observers say it will have to step up efforts to reduce the use of fossil fuel in transportation by promoting electric vehicles and biofuels, and increase the production of clean electricity if it is to achieve this goal.
Calculate your Carbon Footprint
Below is a free calculator to help you measure your carbon footprint and identify the areas where you can reduce your impact on climate change and the environment in general. Once you’ve calculated your footprint, please contact us for help in reducing or offsetting your footprint, or if you have additional questions at Peter, please insert the appropriate e-mail address and phone number here
Suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint (and saving money):
- Walk or ride a bike wherever possible.
- Take the bus or other public transportation when going longer distances, if feasible.
- Invest in a smaller car. If you need an SUV or small truck, diesel engines are more efficient and less expensive to operate. Besides, they can also utilize clean biodiesel fuel.
- Plant trees. Several organizations in Costa Rica, including the government, plant and care for trees in order to sequester carbon.
- Wash clothes in cold water and dry clothes on a clothesline.
- Wash dishes and hands in cold water.
- Take steps to make your house cooler and dryer, such as using reflective roofing materials and paint, increasing cross-ventilation, using awnings and planting trees for shade, insulating air-conditioned areas.
- Buy energy efficient appliances.
- Buy products that don’t come in elaborate packaging, especially plastics.
- Buy locally produced fruits, vegetables and other products cut down on transportation and support your community economically.