CaN: Carbon Reduction
Carbon Footprint for 10502
What's our Carbon Footprint Baseline
In the 1.3 square miles of Ardsley we have about 1,500 households. Ardsley 10502 emits approximately 100,000 metric tons of emissions per year. Dividing that total by the number of households gives us about 66 metric tons of emissions per household per year.
The average emission per household includes some Village overhead for goods and services shared by residents. Our shared, achievable opportunity is to reduce Ardsley’s total annual emissions by 50% by 2030 to 50,000 metric tons per year and to reduce our household carbon footprint to an average of 33 metric tons a year.
There are about 4,300 metric tons coming from categories other than households. They include assisted living facilities, businesses, schools, and the additional Village overhead not captured in the household carbon footprint of 66 metric tons. We embrace the challenge to reduce that amount by ~2,100 metric tons per year as part of this initiative.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, that are generated by our actions. Carbon dioxide is caused by burning fossil fuels, like coal, gas and oil, and from driving gasoline powered automobiles. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. While methane only composes around 15% of all greenhouse gases, methane is 84% more potent than carbon dioxide. It is created by our increased reliance on natural gas and the inevitable leaks in the distribution system. Thus switching to gas (even from coal) is not beneficial since leakage negates the clean-burning benefits. A study published in 2018 estimated that the oil and gas industry is leaking 13 million tons of methane a year.
Methane is also caused by cattle. When we eat more steaks and hamburgers it leads to an increase in livestock population and subsequently to more methane released into the atmosphere. Livestock accounts for 44% of all agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. This why a simple step like eating less meat can have a positive effect on your carbon footprint.
A carbon footprint is measured in metric tons. The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is about 20 metric tons, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the current average is closer to 4 metric tons. To have the best chance of avoiding a 2℃ rise in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels, the average global carbon footprint per year per person needs to drop under 2 metric tons by 2050. We need to go from 20 to 2 metric tons in 30 years!
Lowering our individual carbon footprints in the US from 20 to 2 tons doesn’t happen overnight. By making small changes to our actions, like reducing waste, walking more, taking less connecting flights and being mindful of purchasing decisions we can start to make a big difference.
What drives our carbon Footprint in Ardsley?
Having a baseline Greenhouse Gas inventory allows us to set quantified decarbonization goals and measure progress along the way.
You always start a journey from a starting point, and our current 10502 carbon footprint is our starting point. We also know where we want to end and by when. So, measurement is key in this journey to let us know where we are, how we’re doing, and to help us adjust along the way.
We have calculated the carbon footprint for the Village of Ardsley, more specifically the 10502 zipcode. The information you see above is taken from many sources, including the EPA and the CoolClimate Network. Though our baseline is for 10502, activities and tips we offer can be used by anyone in the Ardsley School District or by anyone in general. We’re using 10502 because we have the data for Ardsley by zip code.
Let’s look at the average carbon footprint for each household.
Since Ardsley is a small community, Village overhead is a small piece of our footprint and, therefore, the main opportunity for change is in Ardsley households. That is where we are placing most of our focus because it will yield the most dramatic results.
The highest Carbon lever is transportation, then followed by housing, services, food and goods. Housing includes the heating and cooling of your home, as well as electricity usage. Food includes the amount of waste, proportion of plant based food in our diet, and use of organic and locally sourced food. Goods cover a lot of our lifestyle needs and choices. Some examples of how to reduce the carbon footing in the goods area would be to:You may wonder what is included in goods and services. Some examples of how to impact goods and services are to:
Purchase local goods and services
Divest from fossil fuel funds in your financial portfolios; invest in funds with high ESG scores. ESG stand for Environmental, Social and Governance and is a way to measure the sustainability of a company or country.
Buy items with less packaging
Shop thoughtfully to reduce waste
Buy energy efficient appliances
Choose brands (of clothes, shoes, etc.) that are more sustainable than others. Many brands have embraced eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical practices, such as fair wages, carbon reduction, less waste, recycling, and ethically sourced material.
A way to reduce one’s carbon footprint in the services area is to support business that are committed to reducing their carbon emissions and waste while delivering a service. Landscaping services, where gas powered blowers and mowing equipment is used, falls under services.
Can I measure my carbon footprint?
There are many easy tools available to help individuals and organizations measure their carbon footprint. Most calculators that you will find on the internet derive their data from the CoolClimate Network, which is a program out of UC Berkeley. Once you settle on a calculator you like, stick with it so you can track the impact of the changes you are making.
The first step is to get a baseline. Once you get your baseline, make a few changes to your lifestyle choices and see how much it reduces your carbon footprint.
We recommend revisiting and recalculating your carbon footprint at least twice a year. We’ll be giving you lots of ideas, from the simple to the complex, on ways to reduce your footprint. You will see results!
We like the calculator from the EPA which uses data from the CoolClimate Network. Give it a try by accessing the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator. The calculator is not perfect. For example it does not ask about any EVs or hybrid vehicles you may have. In the case of an EV say you don’t have a car.
DO WE KNOW HOW MUCH GREENHOUSE GAS IS PRODUCED BY VILLAGE OF ARDSLEY OPERATIONS?
In June 2021 a Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHG) was completed to measure the greenhouse gas emission from village municipal operations. As with the residential baseline, the Village GHG baseline provided important information on drivers of emissions and provides potential opportunities for GHG reductions.