What’s My Carbon Footprint (and Why Should I Care)?

Dear Wanda,

 What’s My Carbon Footprint (and Why Should I Care)?

 -Big Foot

Hey Big Foot!

You may have heard the term “carbon footprint” for quite some time now, but most anyone would struggle explaining what it is to someone. You might know that it has something to do with the environment or that it is something that you want to reduce.

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other carbon compound emissions that you produce in a year. We emit carbon compounds in a variety of ways, but it all goes back to burning fossil fuels. Many of our daily activities use fossil fuels, such as driving a car, using electricity and disposing of waste.

So what’s the big deal? Why should I care?

Those carbon emissions accumulate and negatively impact the environment, potentially leading to global warming. Americans are among the worst offenders in generating carbon emissions. In fact, according to an MIT study, Americans who consume the lowest amount of energy – the homeless – still double the global average!

The good news is that you can reduce your carbon footprint. By taking steps like carpooling, recycling or switching to solar power, you are making strides to a cleaner environment.

Calculate your carbon footprint here!

Cincinnati is Proudly Green and Getting Greener!

Cincinnati reigns green supreme! 

According to Site Selection, the City of Cincinnati has established itself as the top metropolitan green leader in the United States and Ohio is ranked as the third most green state!  

 The good news continues!  

 Recently, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley agreed to power the Queen City’s municipal buildings with 100 percent renewable energy through at least the year 2021.  

 Not only will this deal save the city over $100,000 per year, it also is an investment in our community and the environment. In an effort to have Cincinnati 100 percent solar powered by 2035, Cranley also agreed to add on 25 MW of solar panels throughout the city. Installation of these panels will begin in 2019.  

 Site Selection says Cincinnati has surpassed other metro areas such as Boston, Seattle, Cleveland and Chicago in being “green,” in part because of Procter & Gamble’s efforts to be sustainable as well as the University of Cincinnati’s six LEED-certified buildings. Procter & Gamble strives to eliminate waste at all of its manufacturing plants and its Cincinnati headquarters, while UC continues to make strides toward a LEED-Gold certification.  

 With solar leaders like the city of Cincinnati, GE, P&G, the Cincinnati Zoo, and YOU, it’s easy to see why Cincinnati ranks #1 in sustainability! 

We already have the largest publicly accessible solar array in the country. Are we about to get bigger?

What could make Fiona the Hippo even more lovable? How about the fact that she relies on solar energy? The Cincinnati Zoo is the Greenest Zoo in America currently, thanks to the solar canopy that is installed above the parking lot. These panels make our zoo the largest publicly accessible urban solar array in the country! The parking lot produces 20 percent of the Cincinnati Zoo’s needed energy and generates additional solar power to send back to the utility company.  

Cincinnati, or should we say Suncinnati? This solar mega-house may get EVEN bigger! 

Recently, discussions began around the idea of creating the largest municipally-sponsored solar power project in Ohio. The plan is to install solar panels at city-owned properties like the Lunken Airport. 

Originally proposed by Cincinnati mayor John Cranley, the project also aims to have 20 percent of the city’s powered operations get their energy from solar panels; this would move us closer to our city’s goal of running entirely on renewable energy by 2035. Currently, we are at about one percent—we can do better than that! The project also helps Cincinnati contribute to the world’s environmental goals.  

We at Icon Solar think these plans of action are awesome! And hey, if you need someone to help install those panels, Cincinnati, you know who to call! 

Help Your Country Get Ahead with Solar Power

With the amount of energy we are consuming as a planet, countries are starting to lean away from nonrenewable sources of energy such as gas and coal. Solar power is one of the leading options as the energy source of the future.  

So which countries are leading the world in solar power usage?  

Germany is the leader in solar energy. By creating a framework that subsidizes this power source, Germany has allowed solar power to be competitive in the energy market. According to Business Insider, China, Japan and Italy follow Germany in solar power leaders.  

The United States lands fifth on the list of solar power usage—despite having much more room for solar panels than three of the other leaders. Although we are ranked lower, The Guardian published that the US and China’s implementation of solar power grew the worldwide usage by 50 percent in 2015. The industry calls that growth “very significant” and a critical way for the world to make adjustments for the climate.  

Icon Solar is passionate about solar everywhere. Although choosing solar power keeps the United States ahead of the pack, any country doing this is good for the entire planet since other power sources can be hazardous to the environment.  

Anyone can make an investment in their country and planet by choosing solar power—call Icon Solar today to start making your impact! 

Benefits of Solar Power You Didn’t Know

Dear Wanda



Dear Wanda: I’ve heard solar panels can save me money and even help the environment. But are they good for anything else?  

 Loads! What do you want them to be? Take your pick: roof protection, environmental conservation, insulation, independence? 

 Who wants to spend money on roofing? BOR-ING! Take it from me, solar panels are a lot more fun and responsible—who knew you could have it both ways?! Solar panels are the equivalent of adding another layer of shingles to your roof. If your shingles are exposed to the elements, they are a lot less likely to last. Panels not only protect your roof from the beating sun (which it converts to cold, hard cash) it also can protect your shingles from being swept away by a raging storm.  

 On top of that, panels produce zero greenhouse gases. So, you can sleep soundly while effortlessly saving the planet. Speaking of sleeping soundly, did you know solar panels help insulate your house? No more sleepless, uncomfortable summer nights being suffocated by the heat. 

 Take charge of your energy (I sound like a yogi)! Energy independence can be one of the most gratifying rewards of solar power. The U.S. is dependent on imports for its energy, but you don’t have to be! Saving the best for last, you can have all this with nearly no effort on your part. Give Icon Solar a call and let them handle all the hard parts while you kick back and relish all the benefits.  

More wanda

Looking for Ways to Help Our Planet? Try this.

Concerned about the state of our planet? Words like “greenhouse gases,” “holes in the ozone layer,” “climate change” and “melting ice caps” can make us fear what state the planet will be in for future generations.  How can we be better citizens of this earth? What role can we play in preserving our one and only planet?Blog1Graphic

Being aware of the risks our decisions pose for the planet and making a conscientious effort to minimize those risks is referred to as our environmental responsibility. Unfortunately, Americans are notorious for being among the least responsible citizens of Earth. According to a study done by MIT, on average, even the Americans with the lowest energy consumption – homeless people for example – still double the international average energy usage.

Our culture makes it incredibly difficult to be energy efficient. Our commute to work in our family-safe SUVs, our energy-consuming household appliances, even our occasional, juicy burger may all seem like the norm, yet they tax our planet. Eliminating these things that we have integrated into our lives sounds like a tough, nearly impossible, lifestyle upheaval.

Solar power is one of the most impactful and easiest ways to clean up your carbon footprint. Not only does it produce zero greenhouse gases while powering your home, it also requires nearly zero effort on your part.  Even if you made conservation your primary focus, solar benefits may still beat you. Installing solar panels can be as beneficial as not driving your car (and a friend’s!) for a year or planting and growing 185 trees for ten years!

Take action, and feel better about how you’re saving the planet. Maybe build a compost with some of the money you saved from your panels. Now, you’re unbeatable.

“May the relationship between man and nature not be driven by greed, to manipulate and exploit, but may the divine harmony between beings and creation be conserved in the logic of respect and care.” – Pope Francis

Solar Panels Help the Earth (and Your Wallet)

Many of us are on the lookout for steps we can take to help the environment, from driving a more fuel-efficient car to composting and recycling. But what can you do to make your house more earth friendly? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average American home uses 10,182 kilowatts of electricity every year. It can be tough to envision exactly what that means in terms of environmental impact. So let’s look at it in terms of how much pollution a home produces.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us that your home’s electricity for a year is equivalent to:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from driving 17,150 miles per year. (That’s a lot further than most people drive annually.)
  • Carbon monoxide emissions from burning 7,636 pounds of coal. (Ouch.)
  • Carbon monoxide emissions from 293 home propane tanks. (That’s a lot of cookouts!)

What if you replaced your electricity usage with solar power? Not only would it be like not driving your car (and half of someone else’s) for a year, but it’s also equivalent to:

  • Saving 805 gallons of gasoline.
  • Keeping 16.6 barrels of oil from being used.
  • Growing 185 tree seedlings for 10 years, so they can sequester carbon.
  • The carbon sequestered by 6.8 acres of trees in a year.

Wondering what carbon sequestration is? It’s “the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change.” It’s been proposed as a way to slow the accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels. In other words, it’s one way trees help the planet.

Long words aside, our houses contribute to pollution. But the good news is that solar power can cut that down significantly, and save you money to boot.

In the Midwest, the average cost of a kilowatt hour of electricity is about 13.5 cents (and rising). It doesn’t sound like much, until you calculate that it’s almost $1,400 a year. And for many of us, our average monthly electric bill is much higher than $100 a month. Solar power can make your electric bill dwindle until it’s nearly disappeared, saving you thousands.

Give us a call to talk about how solar panels can help both the earth and your wallet.


Mother Nature’s Take on Solar Panels: Wanda the Wealth Warrior’s Exclusive Interview

As your Wealth Warrior, I have been trying to get through to you about how beneficial solar can be. Not all of you seem entirely convinced, so I decided to bring someone in with a little more notoriety. Let me introduce you all to, the one, the only, Mother Nature. Say hi, Mama Nat!

Mother Nature: Hello there, dears.

Wanda: Would you mind if I asked you a few questions, Nat?

Mother Nature: Go right ahead. I’m always looking to be heard.

Wanda: Firstly, is it okay if I call you Nat?

Mother Nature: Of course, Wanda. We go way back.

Wanda: Hear that, everyone? Mother Nature and I are tight. How exactly did you get your name?

Mother Nature: It’s been so long since I heard the story that I’m not certain on the particulars. Legend has it, it’s because y’all are so dependent on me! Like all mothers, I care for every one of my children. It would be nice to get some of that affection back or you know, a call back occasionally…

Wanda: Ahhh the constant battle of all mothers.  You, of all mothers, aren’t exempt from that?

Mother Nature: You wouldn’t believe it! The things my babies put me through…

Wanda: Like what?

Mother Nature: Ugh, where to start? I’m still not over the margarine scandal. As if mama couldn’t tell the difference between butter and fake butter. Of the things I put up with, that would have to be one of the most minor. The most consistent and pressing issue I’m facing is the lack of appreciation for my work. I work to provide this lush planet for my babies and it’s like they don’t even notice.

Wanda: I can’t even imagine.

Mother Nature: The noxious gases. My precious ozone layer…

Wanda: Well, what’s something we can do to show our gratitude?

Mother Nature: I can think of something that unifies both of our lines of work Wanda. Ever since you’ve been yacking my ear off about solar panels, I’ve been paying close attention. You’re right, they do alleviate some of my burdens. An average residential solar system can prevent hundreds of tons of noxious emissions. As a gift, it’s like one of those chore coupon booklets you made for your mom as a kid—it saves you money too!

Wanda: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them! It’s a win-win.

Mother Nature: Now tell them to sort out their trash from their recycling and we’ll be set for Earth Day too. Mama will be happy.

Wanda: Alright, I’ll tell ‘em! I owe you one.