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.
Several types of fossil fuels are used in the home.
Natural gas is a hydrocarbon fossil fuel and comes from geologic deposits underground. Most natural gas in North Dakota is coproduced from oil wells.
Also known as propane, LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is a combination of light hydrocarbon fossil fuels. The LPG hydrocarbons are either recovered during the extraction of natural gas and oil from the earth or are separated from crude oil at the refinery, just like gasoline, kerosene, and diesel.
Fuel oil and kerosene are refined from crude oil, which makes them fossil fuel hydrocarbons.
Fossil fuels contain carbon, so burning them makes CO2 and increases your carbon footprint. Extracting these fuels also requires energy that adds to the home fuels contribution to your carbon footprint.
Wood, a type of biomass, is the only renewable “home fuel” for this region. Burning wood for fuel does not increase your carbon footprint because as it is burned it releases CO2 that was recently absorbed from the atmosphere and is therefore part of the global carbon cycle.
Developed for the North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy