In honor of Earth Day (April 22), we thought we’d take a look at how we can all reduce our carbon footprints—and walk a bit more lightly on the planet we share.
But don’t worry: This isn’t another lecture about how you need to sell your car or give up burgers. The reality is there are simple things that everyone can do to better protect our world.
Before we get into that though, we wanted to share what we’ve done, as a company, to be better stewards of the environment. Sure, we’re tooting our own horn a bit here, but we think we’ve found some pretty good ideas worth sharing.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint at StorageMart
When we decide to open a new location, our first thought is never to build a brand-new facility. Rather, we search for former industrial or commercial buildings that can be upcycled into self storage facilities. While there are certainly renovation costs (and associated carbon emissions), it’s always significantly less than building new.
The next thing we strive to do is take advantage of renewable energy by outfitting the roofs of many of our self storage properties with solar panels. In fact, StorageMart is one of the largest providers of renewable energy within the self storage industry.
A Closer Look at Carbon Emissions
Before we get into the mechanics of reducing carbon emissions, let’s take a quick look at what they actually are. Carbon is one of the greenhouse gasses that absorbs radiation and prevents heat from escaping our atmosphere. When heat can’t escape, the result, of course, is an increase in the temperature of our planet.
According to the United States Environmental Protection agency, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.
How You Can Reduce Your Footprint
Now let’s take a look at the carbon emissions of the average American—and where they come from. According to data provided by the Union of Concerned Scientists, it looks like this:
• 28 percent of the average American’s carbon emissions come from transportation.
• 26 percent come from stuff you buy.
• 17 percent comes from home heating and cooling.
• 15 percent comes from other home energy use
• 14 percent comes from food.
When you see the numbers broken down like that, it’s easy to see the small changes we could all make to go green and reduce our carbon emissions. Maybe you carpool to work or take the bus a couple of times a week. Perhaps you look to reduce the number of new clothes, toys, or electronics you buy each year. Even a simple change like giving up meat just one day a week can make a difference.
Here are a few more easy ways to go green:
• Research the energy efficiency of any home appliances you buy.
• If you’re a business owner, buy energy efficient office equipment.
• Switch to LED lightbulbs.
• Wash clothes in cold water and hang to dry.
• Turn the lights off when you leave the room (getting your kids to do this is likely the hard part).
• Unplug unused electronics or appliances.
• Buy locally sourced food when possible.
• Recycle as much as possible.
• Choose low energy-use hobbies, which means hiking instead of skydiving or stand-up paddle boarding instead of Jet skiing.
• Compost your food waste.
• Consider installing solar panels.
• Add insulation and weather-stripping.
• Embrace a minimalist lifestyle where you value experiences over getting more stuff.
That’s a long list, to be sure, but remember not to let great be the enemy of good. Any changes you make for the positive will improve the world around you—and maybe even your own life, as well.
You can get fitter by choosing to walk short distance instead of driving. You can save money on utilities by watching your energy consumption. And you can improve the feel of your home by reducing clutter—and only buying what you really love or need!
At StorageMart, we pride ourselves on the relationships we establish, both with our customers and the communities we serve. Part of that is being a responsible steward of the resources we use—and always looking for ways to do better and reduce our carbon footprint. Happy Earth Day!