Glossary

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions

Five Ways To Reduce Your Household Emissions


by Danielle A. Pingitore, Marketing Specialist | January 27, 2021


Our homes played a significant role in our lives during 2020, and it seems that the trend is continuing into 2021. Although it has been a challenging year for many, some positives were derived from it. Many of us have transitioned into working from our homes, acquiring new hobbies, and revisiting old ones, spending quality time with ourselves and our immediate families, connecting with mother nature, and genuinely doing our best to find joy in slowing down.


Although we are lowering our costs and energy use by cutting back or eliminating our commute to work and the need for office space, we are merely displacing some of it by spending so much time at home and ensuring we are comfortable. Our households are significant environmental polluters, especially now that we are under a global pandemic. Many of the polluters in our homes are costly and play a key role in our carbon footprint. Below is a chart that breaks down the top 5 household energy users with their estimated related costs per year, kilowatt-hours used, and pounds of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. 

*The information in the below chart is collected from the US Energy Information Administration.

Top 5 Household Energy Users



Five Easy Ways to Save

Several factors contribute to the amount of energy individual households use, such as climate and geographic location, type of home, the type/amount/efficiency of energy-consuming devices, duration of use, and how many people occupy the household.


Of course, if you are a homeowner, there are significant energy and cost-saving changes you can make to your home, such as reinsulating, winterizing, or replacing old units. However, there are also smaller changes that both homeowners and renters can take advantage of. Below, we break down five easy ways to reduce your household emissions.



1. Smart Thermostat/Programming Thermostat

Smart thermostats are growing in popularity. Not only do they make it possible to adjust your heating and cooling system settings from virtually anywhere using your computer, tablet, or mobile phone, but additionally, they generate significant energy and cost-saving benefits. Since energy use is a primary polluter, adjusting or programming your smart thermostat while asleep, at work, on vacation, or away from home can dramatically minimize your environmental impact and reap cost-saving benefits of up to 10% per year.

We understand that not all homes have a heating or cooling system easily programmable or operated with a smart thermostat. If your home uses alternative sources, such as a heat pump, electric resistance heating, steam heat, or radiant floor heating, there are still options for cutting down your energy use and utility bills. You can find additional information on these systems and your options here.

2. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerators are one of the main energy-hogging appliances in our homes. Reducing the energy used to keep it running efficiently is simple, will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will result in savings on your electric bill.

The best option to save energy when it has to do with your refrigerator is to clean the coils. This task can reduce the amount of energy it uses to keep your food fresh and cold by up to 30 percent!

Keeping your fridge and freezer clean and organized is an additional way to cut back on energy and cost. Try to be mindful that your fridge and freezer are neither jam-packed so that air can circulate adequately, nor empty, so there is something to retain the cold when the door is open.

3. Showerhead Swap

Standard showerheads use about 2.5 gallons of water per minute.  Of course, there is the option of either taking a bath or limiting your shower’s length to cut down on your water bill and the energy used to heat the water. However, a quick and easy switch to install a low-flow showerhead is most effective.

A common misconception is that these showerheads do not have the same water pressure and temperature capabilities as a standard showerhead; however, this misconception is merely untrue. With the use of technology developed over the years, you can now have a satisfying shower experience while saving money, thousands of gallons of water each year, and being kinder to our planet.

Pro-tip: Look for the WaterSense label when shopping for a new showerhead.

4.  Using Cold Water for Laundry

You can cut your laundry’s energy use in half by making the effortless switch to cold water instead of using warm or hot. There are plenty of cold-water detergents available to ensure your wash is sanitized effectively if that is concerning.

Bonus: Cold water will prevent your clothing’s color from fading so quickly, and you will see the saving’s in your bill, just like the tips previously mentioned.

5.  Weather Stripping & Insulation for Attic/Crawl Space Hatches

As anyone with an attic or crawl space knows, there is typically a direct pathway for cold or hot air to naturally travel into the occupied areas of your home, which in turn leads to energy loss. Although this upgrade to reducing household emissions might not be as simple as tips 1-4, it is still relatively easy and effective in minimizing wasted energy and saving money.

The attic hatch is a panel in the dry-walled ceiling, often located in your home’s closet or hallway. To learn more about how to install weather stripping insulation in your home, click here.

Additional Tips

A great way to be part of the solution to a cleaner and greener planet is by carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting is the act of compensating for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the purchase and application of certificates representing an equivalent amount of GHGs voluntarily reduced by another entity that has invested in carbon reduction sequestration projects. Each carbon offset represents one metric ton (approximately 2,205 lbs.) of carbon dioxide reduced. By calculating your household emissions, you will better understand what you are emitting into the Earth’s atmosphere. By purchasing offsets to mitigate your footprint, you can support a project of your liking, reach your sustainability goals, and be part of the fight against climate change. Learn more about how to calculate and offset your carbon footprint by visiting ClimeCo Green.

Making these small changes in your lifestyle can significantly impact your savings account and, more importantly, our beautiful home, planet earth. Start by creating a list, placing each item in order of priority, and checking off each one until you reach your personal goal of reducing your household emissions.

 


About the Author

Danielle A. Pingitore has 10+ years of experience in sales and marketing and is enjoying the challenges of the carbon market. Dani holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a Certificate of Recognition in Advertising through Kutztown University. Dani loves music and enjoys attending concerts and festivals, traveling, river tubing, cycling, working out, and spending time with loved ones.

Check out Dani’s other blog, Carbon Consciousness & The Live Music Experience, by clicking here.

*Data in tables provided by EarthUP

 

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – December 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – December 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – December 2020

Offset Supply Information:

All CCOs issued to date: 206.64 million

Compliance credits awaiting issuance: 18.32 million

CA and General Market Commentary:

  • 2021 will be an interesting year in the market, as full true-up for the 2018-2020 triennial compliance period is due on November 1st. Entities will be required to surrender all of their required allowances and offsets for their total 2018-2020 emissions at that time.

  • ClimeCo anticipates rising CCO prices in 2021 as entities seek to acquire and surrender their 8% offset limits for the 2018-2020 period. The spread between CCOs and CCAs has remained stubbornly and historically high during 2020, but we expect that demand will increase as entities seek to take advantage of the substantial cost savings represented by surrendering offsets instead of allowances up to their maximum allowable quantity.   


ClimeCo
is a respected project developer, advisor, and trader of environmental commodity market products. Specialized expertise in regional criteria pollutant trading programs, California cap‐and‐trade, voluntary markets, and project development and financing of internal CO2 abatement systems complement ClimeCo’s diverse commodity portfolio. Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest developer of U.S. GHG‐offset projects and producer of U.S. voluntary carbon offsets, managing projects that reduce more than four million tonnes of CO2e per year. For information, contact 484‐415‐0501 or nmarshall@climeco.com.

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – December 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – November 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – November 2020

Offset Supply Information:

All CCOs issued to date: 206.63 million

Compliance credits awaiting issuance: 17.55 million

CA and General Market Commentary:

  • A quarterly allowance auction was held on November 17, 2020, with results announced November 24th. Both current and future vintage auctions were over-subscribed.  Current vintage allowances cleared at $16.93 versus a floor price of $16.68, with a bid-to-cover ratio of 1.2.  Future 2023 vintages cleared at $17.35, with a bid-to-cover ratio of 1.37.  It is unusual to see the future vintages clear at a much higher price than the current vintage, as they cannot be used until 2023, and therefore should carry a lower price than current vintages.
  • ARB has also officially announced the 2021 auction reserve floor price of $17.71. This is the lowest price at which allowances can be purchased at auction at the four quarterly auctions which will occur in 2021. 
  • ClimeCo has begun providing our estimate of the 2022 floor price with an initial value of $18.86. This projection will be updated monthly as inflation data becomes available.


ClimeCo
 is a respected project developer, advisor and trader of environmental commodity market products. Specialized expertise in regional criteria pollutant trading programs, California cap‐and‐trade, voluntary markets and project development and financing of internal CO2 abatement systems complement ClimeCo’s diverse commodity portfolio. Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest developer of U.S. GHG‐offset projects and producer of U.S. voluntary carbon offsets, managing projects that reduce more than four million tonnes of CO2e per year. For information, contact 484‐415‐0501 or nmarshall@climeco.com.

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – December 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – October 2020

Offset Pricing Monthly Market Digest – October 2020

Offset Supply Information:

All CCOs issued to date: 205.31 million

Compliance credits awaiting issuance: 17.55 million

CA and General Market Commentary:

The multi-month trend of allowances moving higher and CCO prices moving lower continued in October. The spread between Allowances and CCOs continues to widen to record historical levels.  Because 2020 is not a triennial compliance true-up year, we believe the lack of interest in CCOs is because compliance entities do not need to purchase CCOs for compliance until 2021, and many entities may be waiting until closer to the true-up deadline in order to observe the uncertain economy and better understand their emissions for 2020.

The ROC backlog dropped by approximately 6 million CCOs in October as ARB issuances of credits were much higher than average.

The next quarterly allowance auction will be held on November 17th, 2020, with results to be announced November 24th. While the previous auction did not clear and allowances were sold at the floor price of $16.68, we expect the last auction of the year to clear, as typical, and the clearing price to trend higher as participants begin to anticipate the higher 2021 floor price.  ClimeCo estimates the clearing price for 2021 at $17.73, based on estimates of inflation for the 12 months ending October 31st, 2020.


ClimeCo
 is a respected project developer, advisor and trader of environmental commodity market products. Specialized expertise in regional criteria pollutant trading programs, California cap‐and‐trade, voluntary markets and project development and financing of internal CO2 abatement systems complement ClimeCo’s diverse commodity portfolio. Within the Climate Action Reserve, ClimeCo is the largest developer of U.S. GHG‐offset projects and producer of U.S. voluntary carbon offsets, managing projects that reduce more than four million tonnes of CO2e per year. For information, contact 484‐415‐0501 or nmarshall@climeco.com.

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?

How Has COVID-19 Changed the Way We Think About Corporate Emissions?


by Derek Six, Chief Business Officer | October 22nd, 2020


Like many companies with office-based employees, ClimeCo has mostly had its staff working remotely over the past six months.  Over the next year, I suspect many firms will have some employees return to the office, but I think there will be a portion of office jobs that will permanently telecommute.  Both employers and employees have discovered that it is possible to be productive at home, and that the time saved from commuting is a valuable resource.  With more employees working from home now than before, I started to think about what carbon footprints may look like for companies and how this has likely changed since their employees have shifted from company facilities to off-site locations.


Emissions in 2020 vs. 2019

For many years, ClimeCo has committed to reducing its emissions as much as practical and to offset the rest each year.  I am guessing that when we perform our emissions accounting for 2020, the total will be substantially lower than in 2019.  Most of this will result from reduced travel to conferences and sales meetings, but a part of this will also be due to the lower use of electricity and natural gas at our office locations.  I think other companies will find the same when they do their accounting for 2020 – less energy used on-site; reduced heating and cooling costs; reduced purchases of office, breakroom, and bathroom supplies; and less spent on office space maintenance.

For companies that do extensive GHG reporting, this may bring cheers: “Look how much we reduced our emissions in 2020!”.  But is that true?  Or did we shift these same emissions to the homes of our employees?

Computers, monitors, lights, and coffee makers are buzzing between 9 and 5 each weekday at telecommuters’ homes across the country.  What responsibility do companies have for these employee emissions?  Even in “normal” times, should companies think more about employee emissions and employee health and sustainability issues than they previously have?  Could companies make a more significant impact by leveraging their size and scale to address employee sustainability issues at home?


Making a Bigger Impact

Stephen Bay, CEO of EarthUP, Inc., and Stacy Smedley, Skanska’s Director of Sustainability, recently introduced me to a new concept which they call “Scope 4 Emissions”.  For those of you unfamiliar with GHG reporting, companies typically have considered the following 3 Scopes described in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:

  • Scope 1 – Direct Emissions: on-site fuel combustion, transport fuels for fleet vehicles, air conditioning leaks, etc., things that are under the direct control of the facility

  • Scope 2 – Indirect Emissions: purchased electricity, heat, and steam

  • Scope 3 – Other Indirect Emissions: business travel, waste, water use, purchased goods, services, etc.

Stacy and Stephen suggest that Scope 4 would include emissions from employee energy use, employee waste, and employee commuting.

Why is their concept of Scope 4 emissions compelling to me?  In times of COVID-19 telecommuting, the answer is easy – companies should take responsibility for the shifted emissions resulting from employees working from home.  But even in more “normal” times, I think there is still a compelling argument to do this.  Companies could make a significant impact on global emissions by assisting the employees to address household emissions.  A thoughtful strategy for doing this could include helping employees improve indoor air quality in their homes, reduce their energy bills and waste, as well as improve their quality of life, all while saving them money.

Many companies have found that reducing their corporate emissions by just a little bit is pretty easy and generally profitable, as simple solutions like installing programmable thermostats and more efficient lighting in the office can save them a lot of money; however, as the reduction goals become more ambitious, solutions tend to become more challenging.  Why not widen the net, so to speak, to allow companies to impact employees’ lives significantly?  Wouldn’t this lead to improved employee retention, reduced employee healthcare costs, and increased employee satisfaction and productivity?

For me, taking some responsibility for emissions of telecommuting employees is arguably necessary for any company committed to accurate GHG reporting, but taking additional responsibility for their employee emissions may be good business.

About the Author

Derek Six serves as Chief Business Officer at ClimeCo, where he leads the company’s cross-cutting business functions, as well as the firm’s ODS management program and private equity fund. He holds an MBA in investment management and portfolio analysis from Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business.