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  • Published: Aug 31st, 2009
  • Category: USA
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People can learn and lower carbon footprints

| Sourced From Pressofatlanticcity |

Jim O’Neill is trying to make his carbon footprint seem like a carbon tip toe.
The Northfield resident has done a number of things to make sure his house is reducing the amount of energy being used, everything from installing solar panels on his roof to replacing every light bulb in his house with compact fluorescent ones.

“When I look around my house, I see everything as numbers and how much power I’m saving,” O’Neill said.

Now, the supplier of his electricity is putting him and everyone else in southern New Jersey to the test.

Atlantic City Electric recently linked to a carbon footprint calculator on its Web site. The carbon footprint calculator determines customers’ environmental impact based on their energy use, including waste, water and transportation. The lower the number, the better.

The national carbon footprint average is 24.4 tons of carbon dioxide created per year. In New Jersey, the average is slightly higher at 26 tons created per year.

Atlantic City Electric’s carbon calculator takes into account the size of the home, how much gas, electricity, and water are used and the types of cars driven by the family. It also accounts for actions that help the environment, such as recycling, installing solar panels and making changes to appliances in the home.

Thanks to the solar panels, conservative water usage and a number of other eco-conscious habits, O’Neill’s score was 20.3 tons of carbon dioxide created per year, less than the national average.

For a family of five with a larger-than-average sized home, O’Neill’s score was pretty good. However, some aspects of the calculator did prompt him to think about what more he could do. For example, his 1998 Mercury Mountaineer isn’t nearly as fuel efficient as something like a Toyota Prius. Making that switch would reduce his family’s carbon footprint by another four tons a year.

It also means that O’Neill needs to make sure his kids still follow the house rules when it comes to conserving energy around the house.

“We live the lifestyle we want to live,” O’Neill said. “But they do understand the consequences of wasting electricity.”

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