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Every day the choices you make about what to eat, what to wear, where to live and how to get around create greenhouse gases. Carbon footprints, measured in tons of carbon emissions per year, contribute to climate change. Although some emissions are tied to factors beyond your control --- for example, the emissions created by a manufacturer when it produces fuel-efficient cars --- you can still take significant action to shrink your carbon footprint.
 
According to the CoolClimate Network (https://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/maps), the average annual household carbon footprint of homes in the 95123 zip code is 53.6 metric tons of CO2.
 
The greatest household contributors to greenhouse gases are electricity, heating, water, food and waste:
  • Electricity: The electricity to operate appliances, lighting, water heaters and air conditioners often comes from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Heating: During colder months, many people use furnaces or boilers to heat their homes. These heaters burn fossil fuels such as natural gas, which emit greenhouse gases.
  • Waste: The items you throw away require energy to create. Each pound of trash you toss will emit almost a pound of carbon dioxide in the form of methane.
  • Water: Municipal water systems use a lot of energy to clean and distribute water to households. Reducing water usage and waste can lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Food: The production, packaging and transportation of food consumes energy and results in carbon emissions. The more processed the food and the further it has to travel to get to your table, the higher its carbon footprint.