How I have reduced my carbon footprint

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We should all take inventory of our personal carbon footprint. A good calculator is at

Before I tell you what I’ve done to reduce my footprint, you may want to show your support for the Climate Resolution that CCAT is initiating, which hopefully will lead to reducing Chelmsford’s overall carbon footprint.

Below are all the things I’ve done to reduce my carbon footprint.


1. Replaced all widows with replacement windows

2. Had insulation blown into outside walls and attic floor

3. Replaced all lights with LEDs (unless I missed one or two)

4. Had 23 Solar Panels installed (May 2015) and added 4 more panels 2 years ago

–Get as many panels as possible, because very expensive to add panels –Total output has been 50.67 MWh in 5.75 years; averaging about 8.7 MWh per year –Maximum daily output is approximately 50 kWh

–SolarEdge app, shows equivalent of planting 593 trees; saving 35,618 kg CO2 emissions –SREC incentives for output for 2020 were $2,530; total over $10,000 in 6 years

–System has paid for itself in only 6 years

5. Installed 4 ductless air-source mini-split heat pumps, but kept old gas furnace as backup, moving thermostat into cellar. Plan to replace furnace with heat exchanger and use existing ducts to ensure whole house is adequately heated

6. Enrolled in Chelmsford Choice Greenest (100% renewables) option


1. Early Prius adopter, then replaced with Highlander hybrid

2. Replaced Highlander with EV Chevy Bolt 1.5 years ago (2019) –Cost about $28K after Drive Green | Green Energy Consumers Alliance discount and Massachusetts incentive (wasn’t able to apply Federal tax credit; no tax) –Range 238 miles (optimal) –Cost ~7 cents per mile at 3mpk and 21 cents per kw versus 10 cents for gas car at 25mpg and $2.50 per gallon –Installed Level II charger –No maintenance costs yet –Able to add roof rack and bike hitch

3. Replaced gasoline Volkswagon with Tesla Model Y this December (now all EV) –Can tow; has trailer hitch –Range 321 miles –Expensive ~50K no discounts or incentives –Eliminates range anxiety due to high range and availability of Superchargers


1. Clotheslines used a lot (added pulley clothesline recently)

2. Composting feeds garden and helps to limit food waste

3. Garden fertilized with only compost, manure, and organic fertilizers

4. Lawn – no fossil fuel based fertilizers; use electric mower; watered sparingly

5. Reduced water use – rain barrel; water from dehumidifier; very little car washing

6. Electric tools: hedge clipper, weed whacker, lawn mower, and chain saw


1. Moved investments into “green” ESG holdings (hard to verify though)

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle principle guides everything –Reduced water use by installing low-flush toilet

–Wash and rinse clothes mostly with cold water –Recycle religiously appropriate items so trash is very minimal –Reusable shopping bags –Soda Stream for carbonated water so less aluminum and plastic containers –Go for Healthy Choice power bowls (compostable), not plastic –Limit plastic, go back to bar soap instead of plastic pumps –Fix everything possible rather than replace with something new

3. Food – eat less meat (only grass fed beef) and dairy; produce less waste; avoid palm oil; should buy organic but is so expensive and have seen produce wrapped in plastic

4. Avoid wood burning fires in fireplace, because it releases carbon into the atmosphere

5. Reduce electricity consumption (what’s really necessary)

–Don’t leave outside lights on at night and turn indoor lights off when rooms not in use

–Hardly ever used whole house air conditioner, heat pump much better

–I’m a Grinch, really have cut back on Christmas lights

When I first wrote this blog, I didn’t think of using a carbon footprint calculator to see how big my carbon footprint is. A good calculator is at

I got it down to about 5 metric tons compared to the average U.S. footprint of 16.5 metric tons. For electric consumption, I entered the amount (~5K) billed by National Grid and changed the conversion factor to .058 to reflect having opted up to the 100% Green option in Chelmsford Choice. That is what Solar is rated at; Wind is even lower at .005, and Coal is about .9. Otherwise the calculator would have used the U.S average of .4532

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