Another Good Reason to Become a Vegetarian

September/October 2008
A version of this article appears in the September/October 2008 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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September 07, 2008
Our focus in Home Energy has always been on energy-efficient, healthy, affordable, and sustainable homes, but there are other areas of our lives that account for our total carbon footprint—how much carbon we are responsible for adding to the atmosphere—a measure of our contribution to global warming. Our houses and apartments, but also our cars, air travel, and the food we eat, all contribute. Don Fugler, who does research for the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, estimated the amount each area of our lives contributes to our carbon footprint. He used a hypothetical family of four (two adults, two kids) in Ottawa, with a medium-sized house (2,400 square feet) and two cars (Ford Explorer, 20 mpg highway and 16 mpg city; and Honda Fit, 40 mpg highway and 30 mpg city) to do the calculations. A midefficiency gas furnace and a natural draft gas water heater heat the home—the family spends about $1,200 per year on heating air and water. Both parents work, and each one travels about 20 miles round trip to work each weekday. The kids travel a few miles each day back and forth to school. The two parents make a total of five trips to Toronto and ...

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