Climate change and the reliance on fossil fuels has been a growing concern over the last few decades. The combustion of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds) into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases blanket the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and advancing climate change. Due to the growing concern, organizations have been focusing on sustainability and carbon footprint reduction strategies.
A carbon footprint is defined as the total amount of greenhouse gases directly and indirectly emitted by an individual, organization, event, or product. Some of the major common activities that contribute to an individual’s carbon footprint include vehicle use, air travel, shopping, and even food consumption. These activities and many others from the residential/commercial sector, contribute 30% of the total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are several steps that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Many of these actions will also help to reduce your household energy costs.
- Walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit
- Switch from incandescent to LED light bulbs
- Install a smart thermostat to adjust your thermostat when you are not home
- Turn the thermostat down a few degrees in winter and up a few degrees in summer
- Reduce household waste by using reusable containers and recycling
- Wash clothes in cold water
- Purchase gently used clothing instead of new
- Plant trees in your yard
To determine your household’s carbon footprint and for more ways to reduce your carbon footprint, use the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.
As part of the 2025 Strategic Intent, Kaukauna Utilities (KU) completed a carbon footprint evaluation. This evaluation determined that KU’s carbon footprint is nearly 50% lower than the average carbon footprint for our region and 6% lower than the national average. One large contributing factor for this lower carbon footprint is KU’s carbon neutral hydroelectric generation assets. Focusing on continuous improvement, KU set a goal to reduce the 2022 carbon footprint 15% by the end of 2025. This will be accomplished through efficiency improvements, electric vehicle fleet conversion, and maintaining hydroelectric generation availability.