2009 Carbon Sequestration at Inn Serendipity
Summary of Carbon Sequestration at Inn Serendipity in 2009:
- Electricity generation on-site with a 10kW wind turbine and .7kW photovoltaic system is in EXCESS of actual annual needs with surplus sold to Alliant Energy ("green energy" which neighbors used without paying any premium green energy price). In 2009, Inn Serendipity produced a surplus of over 3,000 kWhs of electricity for our community. The wind turbine generated a total of 8,963 kWhs of electricity in 2009; for our complete wind turbine generation data, click here. The photovoltaic system generated a total of 864 kWhs of electricity in 2009 (installed October 29, 2006, replacing an older PV system with no generation data collected); for our complete PV system generation data, click here.
- Use EPA-certified woodstove for farmhouse heat, burning only downed, seasoned hardwood. According to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, using super efficient woodstoves that burn wood are carbon neutral, since we are releasing the stored carbon that the trees absorbed in their growth.
- Use active solar thermal system (primary) and B100 (100 percent biodiesel) for back-up heating system for strawbale greenhouse.
- Trees for the Future carbon sequestering program with "Trees for Travel" certificates that offsets impacts of guests' travel to Inn Serendipity. The Trees for Travel program also supports community-based conservation and development. In the case with Inn Serendipity, we've focused our donation to help the Trinidad, Sta. Barbara community in Honduras, Central America, devastated by flooding that resulted from Hurricane Mitch in 1998. 50 Trees for Travel Certificates were purchased in 2009 to share with bed & breakfast and cabin rental guests. To date, over 4.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide will be sequestered through our participation in this program over the next thirty years.
- For long-range travel, our VW Jetta TDI (diesel) is fueled with biodiesel blends secured locally during warm season months. For local short trips, an all-electric CitiCar is used, recharged by a .5 kW off-grid photovoltaic system on site. The PV system also recharges our electric lawn mower and is used for various other electric needs on the farm.
- Purchased Carbon Offsets from Carbonfund.org Foundation
For those carbon emissions we were unable to avoid, especially related to transportation to conferences or for our business, we offset these emissions through the Carbonfund.org Foundation. The 2009 offset amounts are as follows (rounding up), using their carbon footprint calculator on their website:
Total Carbon Emission Offsets Purchased through Carbonfund.org to offset above emissions: 9.94 tons (at a cost of $99.36)
- Ground Transportation
- VW Jetta TDI: 13,521 miles (total, including business and personal use)
- Chevy Aveo/Cobalt car rentals for business trips: 3,144 miles (for speaking events related to ECOpreneuring, for Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, Renewing the Countryside: Wisconsin book, with the IATP Food and Society Policy Fellows, freelance travel writing and photography)
- Chevy mid-size car rental for business trips: 873 miles (for speaking events related to ECOpreneuring, for Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, with the IATP Food and Society Policy Fellows, freelance travel writing and photography)
- Toyota Prius to a conference: 412 miles (Feb)
- Chrysler Town&Country minivan to a speaking event: 680 miles (Sept)
- Cadillac sedan to a speaking event: 383 miles (May)
- Airline Travel: 20,054 total miles (Lisa and John (and Liam), for speaking events related to Food and Society Fellows, freelance writing, speaking, and Renewing the Countryside)
- Back-up heating: 92.9 total gallons of #2 heating oil
- farmhouse back-up heating with #2 fuel furnance: 92.9 gallons (for personal and business use when away from farm)
- Inn Serendipity Woods cabin electricity: 272 kWh/year
- Farming Practices at Inn Serendipity Farm
By growing organically, using minimal tilling and seeking to maximize organic matter in the soil through crop rotations and application of compost, it's estimated by the Rodale Institute that such practices may sequester as much as 667 pounds of carbon dioxide per acre per year. Inn Serendipity Farm currently has about 1 acre of organic cultivation, sequestering a conservative estimate of about 500 pounds of CO2 per year, plus 4 acres of pasture grasslands on the farm, estimated to sequester about 1 ton of carbon dioxide per acre per year according to the Farmers Union Carbon Credit program. More than thirty conifers have been planted at the edge of the west, north and east boundaries of the farmstead for wind breaks and buffers. We estimate that our farming practices when combined with the thirty trees planted as wind breaks around the farm offset the approximately 20 gallons total of gasoline used annually for our limited use of a rototiller, chainsaw, gasoline powered lawn mower and DR brush mower.
- Forest Stewardship and Pasture at the Inn Serendipity Woods Cabin Property
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen." Therefore, our sustainable forestry practices offer numerous opportunities to help reduce our carbon emissions through:
Total estimated carbon sequestration at Inn Serendipity WOODS cabin: 71 tons
- 20 acres managed forest law under a stewardship management plan that includes timber stand improvement practices. Depending on practices, age and species of trees and various other factors, forest enrichment practices may sequester as much as 5 tons of carbon dioxide per acre. Our conservative estimate is 60 tons of carbon dioxide sequestered in total per year (20 acres x 3 tons/acre = 60).
- 3 acres conservation reserve program with a new tree planting (afforestation) of 550 trees in former cropland. Depending on practices, age and species of trees and various other factors, afforestation may sequester as much as 5 tons per acre. Our conservative estimate is 6 tons of carbon dioxide sequestered in total per year (3 acres x 3 tons/acre = 6).
- 7 acres un-mowed pasture grassland. Pasture grasslands are estimated to sequester about 1 ton of carbon dioxide per acre per year according to the Farmers Union Carbon Credit program. Therefore, a conservative estimate of carbon sequestration would be 5 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
Our books, including Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life, now in its second printing, and ECOpreneuring, provide both inspirational stories and practical how-to information to assist others in living and working in a climate-neutral way -- today. Not, as the politicians like to say, sometime in the future.
As more research and information becomes available regarding actual sequestration rates or emissions from various biofuels, we will revise our sequestration estimate accordingly. We welcome input and suggestions for improving our analysis and estimates. Inn Serendipity will continue its efforts to reduce our impacts on the environment in whatever ways possible.
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