Natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and wood/biomass make up the “home fuels” category, which is all about nonelectrical sources of heat inside the home. For homes with nonelectrical appliances, these fuels are burned on-site to heat interior space and water, cook food, and dry clothes. The carbon dioxide forms when these fuels are burned. Its contribution to your household carbon footprint begins before it arrives at your home.
Natural gas and LPG are piped to the processing plant where impurities like heavier hydrocarbons, sulfur, and CO2 are removed. This naturally occurring CO2 comes from underground gas deposits. Vented to the atmosphere, it becomes part of your carbon footprint. Gas-processing plants also burn natural gas to supply energy for the refinery process. That creates CO2 emissions, which contribute to your carbon footprint. The fossil fuels used in transport are part of your carbon footprint, too.
Fuel oil and kerosene are products of crude oil refining. Refineries emit CO2 as they burn hydrocarbons to supply energy for the refinery processes. They also remove and release natural CO2 gas that may be present in the crude oil. Trucks, trains, and/or pipelines might be involved in transporting crude oil to the refinery. The fossil fuels used in transport, those burned during processing, and the release of natural CO2 gas all contribute to your household carbon footprint.
Wood has no centralized processing step. It is felled and cut up by portable equipment and transported by vehicles. The fossil fuels used to power the harvesting equipment and vehicles contribute to the household carbon footprint.
Developed for the North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy