Posts Tagged ‘emissions’

How to Calculate & Minimize your Boat Carbon Footprint

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Have you ever wondered what your boat carbon footprint is and how you can offset it?  Here’s a quick rundown of carbon footprint basics and suggestions on how to make this your greenest boating season ever.

How to Calculate & Minimize your Boat Carbon Footprint

How to Calculate & Minimize your Boat Carbon Footprint

What is a Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, measured in pounds of carbon dioxide, that are released into the atmosphere whenever a specific action is performed.  Carbon footprints measure the impact of our day-to-day activities and how they affect the environment and global climate change.

What is a Boat Carbon Footprint?
A boat carbon footprint can be created in a variety of ways (even through towing a vehicle or by using a generator) but the main carbon emissions produced are through the actual fuel consumed by your boat.

How to Calculate your Boat Carbon Footprint
In order to calculate the CO2 emissions from your boat’s fuel consumption, multiply your fuel tank size (in gallons) by the pounds of CO2 (per gallon) based on the fuel type used as displayed in the following chart.  This number represents the pounds of CO2 that your boat emits when you’ve burned from a full tank to empty.  One gallon of gas = approximately 20 pounds of CO2; as gas burns, it combines with oxygen to increase its weight several times over.

How to Reduce your Boat Carbon Footprint
The most obvious way to reduce your boat’s carbon footprint is to reduce your overall fuel consumption.  This can be done in a number of ways including:

  • Ease up on the throttle – it’s fun to go slow, too!
  • Don’t always run the engine at full throttle, ease back into cruise often to maximize your outting
  • Lightening up your boat by removing any excess items will help to remove unnecessary weight
  • If you’re looking at buying a boat, ensure the engine is the right size, and do not buy a carburated motor
  • consider a diesel engine over gasoline as diesel fuel burns cleaner, or better yet – use biofuel!
  • As with your car, consider your boat to be a non-idling area
  • Ensure your boat’s propeller is ding free
  • Consider switching to a stainless steel propeller with thinner blades that result in lowered fuel usage
  • Use an electronic fuel monitor to check fuel usage  which helps to establish your optimal cruising speed
  • Reduce overall drag be ensuring your boat hull is always kept clean
  • Not carrying any unnecessary excess water or fuel
  • If you’re using your boat for longer trips, consider the installation of an auto pilot which will help to reduce fuel usage
  • Using caution to avoid the spillage of gasoline and other toxic waste
  • Buying a boat with a new non-carbureted motor
  • If you like to go fast, consider purchasing a smaller boat that will use less fuel
  • Again, as with your car, consider boatpooling (same as carpooling) if you’re all traveling to the same destination
  • Following your engine manufacturer’s maintenance schedule

Another option to reduce your boat carbon footprint is to consider purchasing carbon offset credits.

What is a Carbon Offset Credit?
A carbon offset is a financial tool for ‘offsetting’ the equivalent in GHG emissions; it costs an estimated $15 to offset each metric ton (2,204.6 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions.  Many social enterprises exist worldwide with the common environmental goal of reducing CO2 emissions; one such company is TerraPass.

TerraPass Carbon Offsets
With the goal of encouraging everyone to become carbon neutral (the balancing or offsetting of carbon dioxide emissions produced with carbon offset credits), TerraPass can calculate individual carbon footprints through home, driving, or air travel usage.   TerraPass currently supports clean energy and emission reduction programs in ten locations across the U.S. through programs including farm power, landfill methane gas capture, and wind farms.

Boat Carbon Footprint
TerraPass Carbon Offsets
Carbon Emissions Information
TerraPass and Carbon Offsets
TerraPass Emissions Reduction Projects


Become a LEEDer in Green Boating

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Leed Certificaiton

Become a LEEDer in Green Boatin

In 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was established as a non-governmental non-profit organization.  The mission of founder David Gottfried and Rick Fredrizzi was simple – to promote building sustainability from the design process to construction while considering the operational aspects of a building.

USGBC now has over 18,000 members worldwide who are committed to building green and promoting healthy workplaces; USGBC offers education and training for it’s members through workshops and internet based seminars.

USGBC spawned the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program in 1994 which is attributed to today’s world of increasing environmental awareness when constructing or renovating a building such as a marina.

Taking into account such design elements affecting indoor air quality, reducing CO² emissions, and energy savings, the LEED program also looks at the sustainability, planning and location of a building, along with materials and resources used during the construction process.

Since that time, LEED has been implemented in the development and design of over 14,000 projects in the U.S. and 30 countries worldwide adding up to 1.062 billion square feet of LEED designated area.

In 2005, Sun Harbor Marina in San Diego was the first marina in the world to be LEED certified; they also maintain their status as a Clean Marina under their California Program.  Forever Resorts, owners of Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina in Lake Mohave, NV, are building their Marina Services building to comply with LEED standards.

According to a 2003 report that reviewed sixty LEED buildings, these buildings were 25-30% more efficient than non-LEED structures; they also showed better production by their workers due to proper ventilation (which reduces indoor air pollution) along with temperature and lighting controls.

Within the LEED 2009 program, there are four possible levels of certification to be obtained with each stage having its own set of criteria (based on a 100 point system) as follows:

Certified 40-49 points
Silver 50-59
Gold 60-79
Platinum 80+ points

There is also a revised version of certification known as LEED NCv2.2 which applies Major Renovations and New Construction which is based on a reduced 69 point system as follows:

Certified 26-32 points
Silver 33-38
Gold 39-51
Platinum 52+

Currently LEED NCv3.0 is in the process of being developed and is expected to include some sort of carbon footprint and CO² reduction level requirement along with the conditions already set in place.

Founded in 2008, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) is the independent administration accreditation branch of the USGBC that manages the LEED program and certification process.  LEED certification is obtained by submitting an application form outlining your compliance with the rating system along with any required registration and certification fees; the GBCI will then process your application accordingly.

Although studies point to a 2% higher investment upfront, governments at all levels have been involved in implementing incentives such as tax breaks, grants, expedited permit processing, technical assistance, along with low interest loans.  To encourage participation in the LEED program, incentives in Cincinnati, OH, have included property exemptions while LEED qualifying building materials are exempt from local tax in Nevada.

Dedicated to environmental awareness of all kinds, The Green Captain provides helpful resources including information on bio-products, recycling, and carbon offsetting.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Marina program plays an important part in creating boater awareness of environmental issues; you can find a directory for states offering Clean Marina certification here.


LEED Wikipedia
U.S. Green Building Council
Sun Harbor Marina
Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina

Wikipedia – U.S. Green Building Council
Wikipedia – Green Building Certification Institute


Go Boat Engine Shopping Armed With These Tips!

Monday, December 21st, 2009
When it’s time to go fishing for a new boat engine, choosing the right engine for your boat may be more important that you think - and using the right marine fuel is equally important .  To make the most of your search when you go boat engine shopping, it may be a good idea to take advantage of the tips offered by Discover Boating.

Discover Boating offers advice on ‘Choosing the Right Engine Package.’  It’s best to do your homework and evaluate options according to the size of engine you require in accordance with your fuel delivery system.

Time to Go Fishing for a new Boat Engine?  Read these Tips!

Go Boat Engine Shopping with Online Research

Choosing the proper engine for your boat is important.  If your engine doesn’t generate enough propulsion power, it will continuously provide a weak performance; however, if your engine generates too much power, you could be in danger of exceeding safe speed limits as outlined by the boat manufacturer.

According to Discover Boating, boat engines fall into these five categories:

1)  2-stroke or 4-stroke outboard motor – ranges from 1 to 350 horsepower (HP); designed for use in all water types; provides good fuel economy; runs approximately 1,500 hours before requiring servicing; available brands for purchase include Nissan, Yamaha, Mercury, and Evinrude.

2)  Diesel inboard motor – ranges from 25 to 715 HP; does not produce carbon monoxide gas; inexpensive to run with a life span of approximately 40 years; available brands for purchase include Yanmar, Cummins, Mercruiser, Westerbeke, and Volvo Penta.

3)  Gasoline inboard motor – ranges from 90 to 1,000 HP; quiet with low maintenance required; has minimal running cost; available brands for purchase include Marine Power, Mercury Racing, and Indmar.

4)  Jet Boat & Propulsion engines – water powered with no propeller; not able to steer when power is not applied; cannot be operated in shallow water; available brands for sale include Honda, Yamaha, Mercury, and Mercruiser.

5)  Stern Drive – (also known as inboard/outboard) the engine remains inside the boat while the propulsion drive is located outside; easy to steer in forward or reverse; low maintenance; available brands include Mercruiser, Ilmor, and Volvo Penta.

The appropriate engine for your boat should be determined in part by the size and weight of your boat, which includes fuel capacity, the number of passengers to be carried, along with the weight of any gear stored onboard.  According to Discover Boating, when determining your required horsepower, “a good rule of thumb is to come as close as possible to the maximum horsepower that your boat is rated for.”

The last choice to make before you go find a boat engine involves the fuel delivery systems.  According to Discover Boating, marine fuel systems consist of three types:

1)  Direct Fuel Injection – provides great fuel economy; has low emissions with smooth idling

2)  Electronic Fuel Injection – allows for great fuel economy; low emissions, plus quick throttle response and power

3)  Carbureted Fuel system – low cost, not as good fuel economy as electronic or direct fuel injection; higher emissions

When you go shopping for a new boat engine, evaluating your options for both price and performance may help get your choice a little closer to the net.

Discover Boating
Boat Safe


TerraPass and Carbon Offsets

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Established in 2004, TerraPass is a social enterprise whose purpose is to generate profit devoted toward the environmental goals of reducing emissions across the United States.  According to their website, TerraPass “funds carbon reductions totaling 3.7 million tons of CO2 through a total of 17 projects.”

TerraPass achieves this goal by offering the sale of carbon offsets that, in theory, counteract the carbon footprint created by an individual or business.  The general goal is to bring awareness to the fact that everyone should work toward becoming carbon neutral; by knowing how their daily actions affect planetary global warming, purchasing carbon offsets is a way to give back.

TerraPass provides information on how to calculate your carbon footprint – the total amount of CO2 released into the air’s atmosphere by the actions of an individual or business – through the use of their ‘carbon footprint calculator.’  An individual can calculate their carbon footprint, or energy usage, in three lifestyle categories: at home, driving, and by air travel.

For example, a 2007 Nissan Versa, with a manual transmission, that is driven approximately 12,000 miles annually, has a carbon footprint of 8,385 lbs of CO2.  In order to cancel out this emission, a one-year carbon offset can be purchased for USD $71.40 which will go to support projects that ‘reduce greenhouse gas emissions.’

TerraPass also offers a wedding carbon footprint calculator which includes taking into factor the number of guests, guest travel, and hotel accommodations.  The TerraPass website includes a list of green products that can be used to help reduce your carbon footprint including energy saving items, gadgets & chargers, water consumption, toys & games, and even gift ideas.

Through third party accreditation, TerraPass ensures that their money is spent as promised and that the quality of offsets adheres to their standards and criteria.  TerraPass also adheres to the standards (Code of Best Practice) as set out by the Climate Action Reserve and the Voluntary Carbon Standard.  TerraPass currently funds projects under three categories: farm power (animal waste), landfill methane gas capture, and generating clean energy from wind farms.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, a world leader in environmental and global warming causes, TerraPass rates a total score of 78 out of a possible 100 points in their vendor offset survey of twenty social enterprise organizations, which is an average rating.  More specifically, TerraPass rated 11 out of 15 for vendor transparency; 9.7 out of 20 under the auditing category; 7 out of 10 for public education; 20 out of 20 for permanence or durability of the offset benefit; and 15 out of 15 for unique ownership, meaning that “clear ownership rights are established to the greenhouse gas reductions that the offset represents.”

TerraPass members come from across the US and around the world; 64% of them use fluorescent light bulbs, 43% have bought a fuel efficient car, 26% take public transit to work, while 6% have solar panels installed on their homes.

Click here to offset your carbon footprint   NOW!

David Suzuki Foundation


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