Inspiration Guide

Lower Your Carbon Footprint with Renewable Energy

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Climate change is an issue that affects everyone, and we can all take part in reducing our impact by reducing our carbon footprint. If you haven’t already measured your carbon footprint, be sure to check out our resources for doing so. When it comes to carbon emissions, there are three primary categories we measure: Energy, Transportation and Waste. This guide is focused on reducing greenhouse gases by investing in alternative and/or renewable energy sources at home.

Go Big with Solar or Wind

Wind Turbines are a great way to produce renewable energy

If you live in an area where you can take advantage of the sun or wind, it’s worth considering an investment in equipping your home to generate its own power. Whether the energy accommodations generate all or a portion of your home’s energy, they will certainly alleviate your reliance on the power grid and, in doing so, reduce the need to burn fossil fuels to power your home.

If you are considering outfitting your home with alternative energy sources, be sure to check with local, state and federal agencies to ensure that you are optimizing your investment and taking full advantage of tax credits available.

  • For information on federal tax credits, refer to
  • For information on policies and incentives at the state level check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency® operated by NC State University.
  • At the city and county level there are even crowdsourcing opportunities where homeowners can band together to access group purchasing incentives.

Invest in Renewable Energy Certificates

Install solar panels to reduce your carbon footprint

What if you live in an apartment, condo or simply can’t make the leap to alternative energy at home right now? You can invest in renewable energy certificates, or renewable energy credits (RECs). According to the EPA, each REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource, such as solar or wind power facilities.

When you buy RECs from your local power company, you are guaranteeing that the equivalent amount of renewable energy is added to the local power grid. Because shared power grids prevent such specificity, RECs don’t guarantee that the electricity you use in your home comes directly from a renewable resource. They do guarantee that your power company is purchasing those credits from renewable sources rather than coal fired plants or natural gas. RECs demonstrate demand for renewables and help fund projects.

In some cases, homeowners can match a percentage of their monthly energy use with renewables for as little as one cent per kWh. If you can afford to support these energy sources, you can do so as easily as signing up online through you power company. Contact your local power company for more information.