Trying to leave no carbon footprints

Dec 27, 2022, 6:55 PM | Updated: 7:10 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — Making a new year’s resolution to shrink your carbon footprint in 2023? According to two people who’ve kept track of their contributions to greenhouse gases, you can make it smaller without spending more money.

How small may depend upon how you count your carbon.

As one of two state coordinators for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Tom Moyer figured if he was going to advocate for a cleaner Utah, he’d better put his carbon footprint where his mouth was.

“What does it look like to truly live a zero emissions life?” the robotics engineer said. “Okay, let’s work on it one step at a time.”

Using hard numbers and estimates, he now keeps an annual accounting of his major sources of greenhouse gases: his house, cars, heaters, leaked refrigerants, food waste, and flights.

In recent years, Moyer and his family built a new home and used that opportunity to design it with energy efficiency in mind. It includes a heat pump, solar cells, and a lot of insulation.

He drives an electric car.

To compensate for air travel, he buys credits from companies that actually take carbon dioxide out of the air.

The final tally, he says, is zero – a net zero carbon footprint.


Moyer said the house and solar cells, when you consider their bigger mortgage but lower energy bills, costs about the same as their old house. Their electric car, he said, when you consider the gasoline they don’t buy, is cheaper.

“Not all environmentalism has to be unpleasant. You can improve people’s lives and save them money in some cases,” he said.

He admitted the carbon credits, though, are expensive.

“It’s insanely expensive. I would not recommend it,” he said.

Tom Moyer is a state coordinator for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. (KSL TV) Tom Moyer is a state coordinator for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. His green home and electric car helped him get his carbon footprint to zero. (Tom Moyer) Architect Lloyd Alter, author of "Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle," attempted to limit his annual footprint to 2.5 metric tons of CO2. (KSL TV)

Moyer does not count embedded carbon, the greenhouse gases it takes to make something get it to you, maintain it and dispose of it because he said those things are out of his control.

Lloyd Alter, author of “Living the 1.5 Degree Lifestyle,” did. The Toronto architect attempted to limit his annual footprint to 2.5 metric tons of CO2. According to the 2015 Paris Accord, if everyone kept to that, it would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade.

Alter said he made it work only with the help of public transportation and an e-bike.

“Driving is the one thing that will kill you on this thing, if you have to drive a car, you can’t do it,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle that’s much easier if you’re a nice moderately wealthy middle-class person living in a streetcar suburb who works from home.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Keep Utah Green

Sprinklers water a lawn in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 7, 2021. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issues his ...

Matt Rascon & Shelby Hintze, KSL TV

KSL+: Severe Drought, How Did We Get Here?

We've heard of time and again, over the last couple of months, the western United States are facing a big problem. Currently, more than 50% of the western states are in a drought. And the entire state of Utah is facing drought conditions.

3 years ago


Aley Davis, KSL TV

Simple Steps You Can Take to Improve Utah Air Quality and Protect Your Health

The summer ozone season can be just as dangerous as the winter inversion, especially on really hot days, but there are simple changes Utahns can make every day to improve air quality.

4 years ago

(KSL TV)...


Sand Hollow State Park Helps Keep Utah Green

Utah has a lot to offer when it comes to life outdoors, and that's true with Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane. The park also plays a role in replenishing an underground aquifer.

4 years ago

(KSL TV)...


Plenty To Do On Great Salt Lake’s Antelope Island

KSL Photojournalist Meghan Thackrey shows us the beauty of the land in the middle of the Great Salt Lake, at Antelope Island State Park.

4 years ago

Photo: Dominion Energy...

Eric Openshaw

5 Simple Ways You Can Conserve Energy in Utah & Your Home Plus Save Money

There are some really easy things you can do that can make a big difference. Conserve energy in Utah because it helps clean up the air and save you money.

4 years ago



Utah’s Fantasy Canyon: The Devil’s Playground

The Beehive State is famous for some of the world’s most unique rock formations. Just 40 miles south of Vernal, you can find a little geological treasure at Fantasy Canyon.

4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Trying to leave no carbon footprints