Weighing the environmental impact of food

Locally-grown food

Carbon emissions are seen many places, many ways. They are only partially documented in the energy bills we receive. Online tools help us calculate our CO2 impact at home, at work, and resulting from products we buy.

Our travel leaves carbon footprints. Our trash sends greenhouse gases (GHG) soaring to the stratosphere. Even food has a footprint!

Food carbon footprint

Comparing the carbon footprints of different types of food[3]

Restaurants boast of their farm-to-table menus. Grocers and farmers markets offer local produce. Although the environmental impact of locally sourced food is less significant, it still has significant economic, social, and health benefits.[1] The depth of a food’s carbon footprint is more about the type of food; less about where is it from.[2] 80% of GHG emissions result from how farming is done and what is brought to market.

The Carbon Footprint Diet?

Reduce your food carbon footprint in just 90 days! The Carbon Footprint Diet may never have an infomercial or celebrity endorsement, but it is based on nine published strategies[4] for sending less GHG into the atmosphere. Start cutting CO2 today! Here’s how:

  • Avoid waste

    The estimated average food waste per person, globally, is well over 400 pounds. When that waste is sent to landfills, it emits the powerful GHG, methane.

    Wasting less food may be the easiest part of your Carbon Footprint Diet. As you plan what you buy, then buy what you need, you will waste less food and save more money.

  • Choose unwrapped produce

    Plastic bags and wrap are petroproducts. When not safely adrift in the ocean or consumed by fish, they contribute to GHG emissions. Salad kits and microwave-ready potatoes are convenient but add weight to a carbon footprint.

  • Eat less meat

    The Carbon Footprint Diet limits meat dishes to one meal per day. Livestock are powered by green energy but have their own form of internal combustion that contributes 14.5% of global GHG.

  • Invest in plant-based protein

    Bean burgers and other faux-meat products may be pricey, but they deliver dividends in individual health. They also reduce an individual’s carbon footprint.

  • Moo-ve away from dairy

    Science (or at least one small scientific study) has concluded that dairy products are the second largest contributor to individual GHG emissions. Cattle produce more than milk and meat. Those byproducts are well-known to agriculturists and emit methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and ammonia.

  • Find fiber

    Experts say that fiber-rich foods quickly satisfy hunger. When that happens, foods with a heavier carbon footprint can be set aside for tomorrow’s leftovers. The food choices and decreased consumption both reduce a carbon footprint.

  • Create a microfarm

    Plant a garden. Grow more and buy less.

  • Observe the seasons

    Fresh, summertime oranges and middle-of-winter sweet corn will be well-travelled before they reach a North American grocery. Their motor journeys leave carbon footprints.

  • Count calories

    Like any bona fide lifestyle plan, the Carbon Footprint Diet recommends eating no more calories than your body needs. This is based on science. One study of 16,800 overeaters found that 2.5 times more calories were consumed by people who have heavy carbon footprints.

At ecoPreserve we purchase carbon offsets for energy use, purchases, and travel. Still, we recognize that a carbon footprint involves more than that. That may be one reason we have so many vegans and vegetarians among us!

[1] Virtua.org
[2] OurWorldInData.org — Our World In Data is a project of the Global Change Data Lab, a registered charity in England and Wales.
[3] ShrinkThatFootprint.com — Shrink That Footprint is an independent research group.
[4] Healthline.com — Healthline Media has not endorsed, reviewed, or promoted the fictitious Carbon Footprint Diet.

George Pond

George Pond

Marketing Manager at ecoPreserve, LLC
George Pond brings over 20 years of experience in technical writing, internet development, and social media marketing to ecoPreserve.

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Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.