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Recipes for a Low Carbon Diet

The main focus of the Cool Cities campaign is to reduce our community “carbon footprint”.  You’ll find tools for measuring yours elsewhere on our site (“Carbon Footprint Calculators”, above).  Let’s all pledge to reduce our carbon footprint, which leads us to this important question, “WHERE DO WE START”?

After a thorough analysis of data published by McKinsey & Company in a report to The Conference Board entitled “US Greenhouse Gas Abatement Mapping Initiative – December 2007”, we’ve developed a clear-cut road map for the first steps to reducing emissions.  You’ll find the summary of our work below, Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition’s “Recipes for a Low Carbon Diet”.


  • Conservation of all types (turn out lights, turn off machines, turn off power strips; combine trips, walk, ride a bike, use public transportation, etc.)
  • Energy-efficient lighting
    • Download Cool Cities’ CFL Quick Facts (PDF File)
    • Learn about emerging energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology and products on US Department of Energy Web Site CLICK HERE
  • Fuel economy – cars (20% better than your last vehicle)
    • a. Research passenger car mileage estimates on EPA web site:  CLICK HERE
  • Energy-efficient electronics and appliances
    • Learn about the categories of Energy Star products on US Government Energy Star Web site:  CLICK HERE
  • Fuel economy – light trucks (20% better than your last vehicle)
    • Link to EPA site on fuel economy for light trucks CLICK HERE


  • Industrial process improvement
  • Industrial combined heat and power
    • US Government’s Energy Star web site has information about industrial process improvements to reduce energy demands.   CLICK HERE


Afforestation of marginal crop land and pastures – tree planting –
While there is scientific debate about whether young or old forests are more useful as carbon sinks, there is currently no question that planting trees on marginal land or pastures will increase the land’s capacity to sequester carbon.


  • Wind, both onshore and offshore
    • Onshore: James Madison University anemometer loan program provides services to analyze site suitability:  CLICK HERE
    • Onshore and offshore: See JMU wind program web site (includes mapping services for onshore wind in cooperation with local governments and others) CLICK HERE
  • Distributed Solar Energy (Photo-Voltaic)
    • Visit the American Solar Energy Society web site: CLICK HERE
    • Direct Connect Solar and Electric, a Cool Cities Affiliate, has been installing solar PV systems local for over 15 years. CLICK HERE  to visit their web site
    • See a local solar installation (greenhouse at Blacksburg YMCA): CLICK HERE
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