The Carbon Impact Explorer gives people a new way to look at climate change
Austin, Texas (PRWEB) May 7, 2009
To help customers visualize the impact of their support for cleaner energy and other carbon reduction projects, BeGreen, the carbon offset division of Green Mountain Energy Company, launched today a new interactive tool - the BeGreen Carbon Impact Explorer - that allows online visitors to view U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions hotbeds, as well as past and current renewable energy, reforestation and other carbon offset projects supported by the company's customers. The Carbon Impact Explorer is available through BeGreen's website at http://www.begreennow.com/impact/.
Using the Google Earth platform, the first-of-its-kind tool incorporates CO2 emissions data from Purdue University's Vulcan Project, a three-year effort to map all of the U.S. carbon dioxide emissions that result from burning fossil fuels, such as coal, gasoline and jet fuel. While the Vulcan Project brings the functionality of viewing problem areas across the country, the Carbon Impact Explorer expands on this by mapping Green Mountain Energy supported renewable energy and other projects that represent carbon reduction efforts, such as solar energy facilities, wind farms and reforestation projects.
"We've always been challenged with finding ways to bring people closer to the projects they support through our renewable energy and carbon offset programs and make them tangible," said Gillan Taddune, chief environmental officer of Green Mountain Energy Company. "Many times, especially in the case of wind farms and forests, the projects are located in remote areas of the country, making it difficult for people to truly visualize the impact of their support. The Carbon Impact Explorer allows them to get up close and personal with the real impact they can have when they support renewable energy and other carbon offset projects."
Since 1999, customers of Green Mountain Energy and BeGreen (launched in 2006) have helped avoid more than 4.9 million metric tons of CO2 - which represents the environmental impact of taking more than 870,000 cars off the road for one year or recycling more than 24 billion aluminum cans. By choosing cleaner electricity generated from renewable energy sources, Green Mountain Energy customers support the development of wind and solar energy projects. BeGreen provides businesses and individuals with the opportunity to support these types of projects through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECS) and carbon offsets to reduce the environmental impact of their carbon emissions.
How It Works
Listed in "The Problem" section, the widget groups the top 20 sources of CO2 emissions into six main categories, including:
- Air travel
- Road transportation
By clicking on any of the six icons, representing the top sources of pollution, users are shown the problem areas on a map. Users can also click on the map to view important statistics such as the estimated annual carbon emissions produced at each location.
Users can also select any of the six icons listed under "Our Impact" to view learn more about the positive environmental impact of projects supported and developed by Green Mountain Energy customers. Icons in this section represent the following renewable energy and carbon offset project types, supported by Green Mountain Energy and BeGreen customers:
- Methane capture
Users who click on the icons are shown a description of the project and are given the option to support similar projects by clicking on the "Take Action Now" button at the bottom of the page. They can purchase wind energy credits or tree plantings directly through the interface, instantly learn how much CO2 they can help avoid, and receive a certificate for each purchase.
Using the tools on the right sidebar, users can also zoom to a birds-eye view of the actual facility.
"The Carbon Impact Explorer gives people a new way to look at climate change," said Taddune. "With today's technology, we've only scratched the surface of what's possible in helping to bring to life efforts to reduce the negative environmental impact of our daily actions."
About BeGreen Carbon Offsets
BeGreen Carbon Offsets (http://www.begreennow.com) is a division of Green Mountain Energy Company, the longest serving green power provider in the U.S. BeGreen provides education about the serious effects of harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and offers businesses and consumers simple and effective ways to reduce their carbon footprint through the purchase of renewable energy, forest sequestration and other project-based offsets. BeGreen's carbon calculators follow the EPA Climate Leaders methodology, which is based on the World Resources Institute's Greenhouse Gas Protocol (WRI GHG), a widely accepted industry standard. All purchases and sales of BeGreen's carbon offsets are also audited and verified by an independent accounting firm.
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