What is a Carbon Footprint?

What is a Carbon Footprint?

Carbon footprint—it’s a phrase we hear often from clients seeking our solar permit services. In short, a carbon footprint is the number of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), emitted into the atmosphere during the burning of fossil fuels. A carbon footprint can be calculated for an individual, a business, a car or even an entire country. It’s used to determine the impact human activities have on the planet.

The reason that carbon footprint has become such a buzzword is that the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has caused what we call “global warming.” This is a gradual yet troubling increase in the temperature of the Earth’s surface caused by greenhouse gases. This affects both land and water, causing everything from the acceleration of glaciers melting and flooding to rising sea levels and intense droughts. Global warming has also resulted in an increase in both the intensity and occurrences of cyclones and hurricanes. These climate changes will worsen if the emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase at its current rate.


Whenever we burn fossil fuels, carbon dioxide is emitted. While it’s the dominant gas affecting our planet, the other carbon compounds are very harmful as well, even though they are emitted in smaller quantities. Methane has been reported to be 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, while nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more powerful. Refrigerant gases are exponentially more powerful than these other emissions.

An extremely effective way to minimize your personal, family or business’ emission of greenhouse gases is by going solar. The installation of solar panels requires no combustion whatsoever, and therefore, causes nothing to be released into the atmosphere. It’s one of the fastest, most cost-efficient ways to help make a difference for our environment.

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