At the beginning of last summer, we decided to make Ideum carbon neutral. (See We’re a Climate Neutral Company.) Since then we’ve been using wind power and purchasing credits to offset our carbon production. As of today, we’ve avoided nearly 50,000 pounds of carbon, the equivalent of planting over 2,000 trees.
Just today, I’ve renewed our effort and have adjusted our carbon usage. For example, last year at this time we had five employees and now we have ten (although two are part-time). 90% of our electricity still comes from wind, but some of the other factors have changed. Here’s how are carbon usage was recalculated.
- Electricity (the remaining 10% from fossil fuels): 1,742 lbs of carbon, an increase of 20% from last year. Lots of new computers. (Calculated from the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program)
- Travel to work: 26,660 lbs of carbon (13.3 tons). 10 employees, 240 working days, 145 total daily miles= 35,525 miles annually. Some of our employees bike, walk or car pool, and this has kept the figure down, although it is still higher than last year with double the number of employees. (Calculated from An Inconvenient Truth > Carbon Calculator)
- Air Flights: 9,500 lbs of carbon. 10 medium, 4 long, and 2 extended flights. A 30% reduction from last year. Much less air travel with new, longer-term projects. (Calculated from An Inconvenient Truth > Carbon Calculator)
- Natural Gas: 3,200 lbs of carbon. The same as last year. (Calculated from the Carbon Footprint, had to convert English pounds to US dollars)
The total amount of carbon that we needed to off-set was 41,300 pounds, up from 32,052 pounds last year. Today we purchased 21 one-ton “RECs,” or renewable energy credits, from NativeEnergy. Our cost is $252 a year to off-set our carbon production. If you add in the extra $12 a month for electricity from wind, our final cost is a nominal $396, just over $1 per day.
Perhaps this weekend’s Live Earth concert will inspire other companies to examine their carbon footprints and consider becoming climate neutral.