What is the size of your footprint? I’m not asking about what size tennis shoe you wear, but about your carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is measured by an individual’s estimated effect on the environment. It measures the amount of greenhouse gas or carbon dioxide emissions people produce.
There are several carbon-footprint calculators online. You simply enter information about how much mileage you put on your car, the temperature you set your home thermostat at, and how much you recycle. The calculator uses this data to determine your annual carbon emissions.
I recently completed a carbon footprint calculator at http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/. I thought I led a somewhat environmentally-conscious lifestyle. I walk to class and turn off lights after leaving a room. After taking the quiz however, I had to think again! According to the calculator, my footprint size is a 32. This means I produce roughly 32 tons of carbon emissions per year!
The average American’s carbon footprint is a 27; therefore, my footprint is larger than normal. To reduce your carbon footprint size, you can buy energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, regulate the temperature on your home’s thermostat, and turn off lights after leaving a room.
Aside from lifestyle changes individuals can make on their own, the U.S. government is making strides to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. Several tax incentives are currently available for the construction of new wind farms and for purchasing small, personal wind turbines. In his January 24, 2010, weekly address, U.S. President Barack Obama said the U.S. “will double our capacity to generate alternative sources of energy like wind, solar, and biofuels over the next three years.”
Department of Energy (DOE) research shows 40 percent of U.S. carbon emissions are produced by the power sector. A 2008 DOE report is calling for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity to be produced with wind energy by 2030. Wind energy is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source. Costing less than five cents per KWH, wind energy uses more than 300-foot-high turbines to power generators. If the 2030 goal can be reached, 11 percent of the nation’s natural gas consumption and 18 percent of coal consumption will be eliminated.
According to the DOE, “reaching 20 percent wind energy will require… improved reliability and operability of wind systems and increased U.S. manufacturing capacity.”
The report estimates 7,000 new wind turbines will be needed by 2017, consequently creating more than 175,000 new jobs for wind energy technicians.
This is where Texas State Technical College comes in. Not only does TSTC offer a wind energy technician degree at its West Texas campuses, TSTC also published the first wind energy textbook, Electromechanical Principles of Wind Turbines.
The revolutionary textbook dedicated to preparing students for careers as wind energy technicians. Topics covered include everything from safety on the job to the mechanics of wind farms and turbines. In-depth pictures, diagrams and review exercises help prepare students for careers as wind energy technicians.
Paired with the new Wind Energy TechCareers, TSTC Publishing is helping meet the government’s demands for cleaner energy and experienced industry professionals.