CLIMATE CHANGE
CLIMATE CHANGE
icon-climate-change-01

Climate Change in Colorado

Think Colorado doesn’t experience climate change? Think again! Here are a few ways our state is feeling the heat:

Average temperatures in Colorado have increased 2° Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, with an additional 2° warming expected by 2040

Snow is melting 15-30 days earlier than in the past

Snowpack levels have decreased at most monitoring sites since 1955, and most projections for the state’s river basins show decreasing annual runoff

A growing population across the state will place increased pressure on water supply and could create conflict between water-sensitive industries like winter recreation and agriculture and municipal use

Scientists have identified links between temperature increase and wildfire frequency

Climate Change

Energy

In Colorado, energy related CO2 emissions account for over 50% of all GHG emissions. Because burning fossil fuels is the primary driver of climate change, out energy use must change in order to substantially decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate Change

Water

Here in Colorado, we get 70 percent of our drinking water from snowpack. With a changing climate and growing population, our water supply is at risk.

Climate Change

Sustainable Food

Climate change will impact how and where we grow food. Your diet plays a role in the problem – and the solution.

Climate Change

Waste/Recycling

It’s hard to live a zero-carbon lifestyle, because even the stuff you buy has a footprint. But recycling and composting help to keep your footprint smaller.

Individual Climate Action Toolkit

calculate your carbon footprintClimate change can seem like an overwhelming problem to solve, but if you refocus you perspective on the actions within your control, you’ll realize that you have the ability to make positive change. While local, state, and federal governments can enact policies that would speed up the pace of emissions reductions, your individual actions can not only make a dent in your community’s overall emissions, but they also demonstrate to others – your family, friends, and neighbors – that these behaviors matter. By taking action every day, you help to create new social norms for our community, and that’s a big change!

Download our Individual Climate Action Toolkit for some behaviors that you can take to impact climate change.

READ THE INDIVIDUAL CLIMATE ACTION TOOLKIT:

Energy

LED lights are 90% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

UPGRADE THE LIGHTS IN YOUR HOME TO LEDs
Sorry, Thomas Edison – LEDs are about 90 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, saving energy and therefore emissions. In 2017, LED bulbs used around the world reduced the emissions from lighting by 570 million tons of CO2, equivalent to removing nearly 111 million cars from the road. LEDs have significantly dropped in price over the last few years, and HC3 provides free LED bulbs for residents who enroll in our Energy Smart Colorado program.

INSULATE AND SEAL AIR LEAKS
Do you have holes in your house? Even if you don’t realize it, you probably do. All the tiny gaps and cracks in a home allow air to escape, meaning that you’re using more energy than you need to in order to keep your house warm. In fact, air leaks can be responsible for up to 40 percent of your heating costs. And if your home isn’t properly insulated, you’re losing more heat.

Find out how your home performs by getting a home energy assessment, and then make the improvements suggested in the report. HC3 has rebates to help offset the cost of the assessment and improvements. Join the over 250 Summit locals who have reduced their emissions by over 2 tons per household each year.

Renewable power sourcesBUY RENEWABLE POWER
In 2015, 29 percent of the U.S.’ carbon emissions came from electricity production. This should be no surprise because most of our electricity is still generated by burning fossil fuels. If your electricity provider is Xcel Energy, about 36 percent of the electricity that is delivered to your home is already renewable. Take that up a notch by signing up for one of Xcel’s renewable energy programs. For minimal extra cost, you can subscribe to wind or solar power and offset all your home’s electricity use. Participating in renewable energy programs is a great way to demonstrate to utility companies that consumers want clean energy.

WASH YOUR CLOTHES IN COLD WATER
Almost 90 percent of the energy consumed by your washing machine is used to heat water. If your clothes are just lightly soiled, there’s no reason to use hot water for washing. Switching the water temperature to the warm setting will cut your washer’s energy use by half and using cold water will reduce energy use even more.

Unplug the vampiresUNPLUG THE VAMPIRES
On average, Americans have about 65 devices plugged into home outlets, and many of our electronics consume electricity 24/7 – even when we’re not using them, or we think they’re turned off. This energy drain costs us about $165 a year on average and is equal to the electricity produced by 50 medium sized power plants! Cut the flow to these energy-suckers by unplugging electronics in rarely used rooms (like a TV in a guest room) and plug other devices into power strips with switches. Turn off the power strip when you’re done using all your devices, and they’ll truly be turned off.

Transportation

Driving emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year = five elephants!DRIVE LESS
Transportation is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. The typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year – that’s like releasing five elephants from your exhaust pipe. In the U.S., we equate cars with independence and freedom, and it can be hard to give up these values. But for every mile we don’t drive, we can save about a pound of carbon emissions.

In Summit County, we have great options for free public transportation. If you live near a bus stop, try to arrange your schedule so you can take the bus to work. Or find a co-worker to carpool with. When running errands, plan to go a number of places at once to eliminate the need for multiple trips.

SWITCH TO AN ELECTRIC CAR OR GO CAR FREE
After electricity, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The biggest contributors to transportation-based emissions are passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks. Yet electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise, with several car manufacturers ceasing production on gasoline models in the coming years. Some analysts predict that EVs will make up over half of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2040.

Offset carbon emissions with an electric vehicleEVs aren’t completely emissions free. But even when considering the life-cycle emissions associated with manufacturing, driving, and disposal (or recycling), EVs still generate 50 percent fewer emissions than a comparable gasoline-powered car. And the emissions from manufacturing an EV are offset after 6 – 16 months of driving. Although not all EVs are charged using 100 percent renewable power, most Americans live in regions where there is already renewable energy on the grid. Remember that 36 percent of the electricity on Summit County’s grid is currently renewable, and that number will increase to 55 percent by 2026. As our grid energy becomes cleaner, the benefits of driving electric only increase.

Electric cars are expensive, but prices should continue to drop as battery technology improves. State and federal tax credits are available for EVs, too. Many experts predict that electric cars will be competitively priced with gasoline vehicles by 2025. And while battery components and recycling remain a concern, there are several firms working to improve battery recycling, devising ways to reuse car batteries, and even designing batteries made of different materials altogether.

Offset your air travel to help mitigate climate change.OFFSET YOUR AIR TRAVEL
It’s hard to say no to adventures to far-flung places or even a simple trip home to visit family. But air travel is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Just one roundtrip flight between Denver and New York produces 13 percent of the emissions that your car generates in a year. If you take multiple trips per year, aviation becomes a very large component of your carbon footprint.

One way to cut back on these emissions is to fly less. And when you do fly, try to fly direct; take-off and landing can account for up to 25 percent of a flight’s emissions. You can also offset your emissions. When you buy offsets, you’re investing in projects designed to reduce emissions, like renewable energy or carbon sequestration. There are a few factors to keep in mind as you search for an offset seller, like whether or not the project is permanent, but there are good resources and standards bodies for helping to select quality offsets.

If you’d like to offset your vehicle emissions, too, the Colorado Carbon Fund has Colorado-based projects that you can donate to. When you do, you’ll get a special license plate to show-off your environmental dedication.

Consumption & Waste

Driving emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year = five elephants!DRIVE LESS
Transportation is a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. The typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year – that’s like releasing five elephants from your exhaust pipe. In the U.S., we equate cars with independence and freedom, and it can be hard to give up these values. But for every mile we don’t drive, we can save about a pound of carbon emissions.

In Summit County, we have great options for free public transportation. If you live near a bus stop, try to arrange your schedule so you can take the bus to work. Or find a co-worker to carpool with. When running errands, plan to go a number of places at once to eliminate the need for multiple trips.

SWITCH TO AN ELECTRIC CAR OR GO CAR FREE
After electricity, transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The biggest contributors to transportation-based emissions are passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks. Yet electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise, with several car manufacturers ceasing production on gasoline models in the coming years. Some analysts predict that EVs will make up over half of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2040.

Offset carbon emissions with an electric vehicleEVs aren’t completely emissions free. But even when considering the life-cycle emissions associated with manufacturing, driving, and disposal (or recycling), EVs still generate 50 percent fewer emissions than a comparable gasoline-powered car. And the emissions from manufacturing an EV are offset after 6 – 16 months of driving. Although not all EVs are charged using 100 percent renewable power, most Americans live in regions where there is already renewable energy on the grid. Remember that 36 percent of the electricity on Summit County’s grid is currently renewable, and that number will increase to 55 percent by 2026. As our grid energy becomes cleaner, the benefits of driving electric only increase.

Electric cars are expensive, but prices should continue to drop as battery technology improves. State and federal tax credits are available for EVs, too. Many experts predict that electric cars will be competitively priced with gasoline vehicles by 2025. And while battery components and recycling remain a concern, there are several firms working to improve battery recycling, devising ways to reuse car batteries, and even designing batteries made of different materials altogether.

Offset your air travel to help mitigate climate change.OFFSET YOUR AIR TRAVEL
It’s hard to say no to adventures to far-flung places or even a simple trip home to visit family. But air travel is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Just one roundtrip flight between Denver and New York produces 13 percent of the emissions that your car generates in a year. If you take multiple trips per year, aviation becomes a very large component of your carbon footprint.

One way to cut back on these emissions is to fly less. And when you do fly, try to fly direct; take-off and landing can account for up to 25 percent of a flight’s emissions. You can also offset your emissions. When you buy offsets, you’re investing in projects designed to reduce emissions, like renewable energy or carbon sequestration. There are a few factors to keep in mind as you search for an offset seller, like whether or not the project is permanent, but there are good resources and standards bodies for helping to select quality offsets.

If you’d like to offset your vehicle emissions, too, the Colorado Carbon Fund has Colorado-based projects that you can donate to. When you do, you’ll get a special license plate to show-off your environmental dedication.

BECOME AN ADVOCATE

Once you start tackling the suggestions on this list, talk to your family and friends about what your doing and why. Your efforts might inspire them to start adopting new behaviors, too! This ripple effect is how we create new social norms, but you have to share your efforts so that people actually know what’s going on!

Take part in local, state, and federal discussions about climate change, energy, and conservation policies. Show up at council meetings, and call your representatives, both state and federal. And examine the environmental platforms of candidates running for office. Push candidates you’re interested in to address the issues you care about. Your voice matters, but no one knows what you think until you open your mouth.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Start typing and press Enter to search