Sculpture: Embodied Energy and Carbon Credits by Nancy Selvage

"I wanted to offset the carbon footprint of the materials that I used in my exhibition as well as my daily-life carbon footprint.

I used about 250 pounds of aluminum to create work for this exhibition. Aluminum is a material that requires a lot of energy to produce - so much so that abundant bauxite ore from Australia is often shipped to Iceland for processing with that country’s abundant supply of geothermal and hydroelectric energy. 

Using renewable energy sources for processing reduces aluminum’s carbon footprint, but not all aluminum is processed in this way, and there are mining, transport, and manufacturing considerations.

On the average 9 pounds of Carbon Dioxide are produced for each pound of rolled aluminum sheet. 

TerraPass is a company that sells Carbon Offsets.  The income is invested in carbon emission reduction and renewable energy projects.

At a cost of $5.95 per 1000 pounds of carbon, I offset the 2250 pounds of Carbon Dioxide produced by the 250 pounds of aluminum used in my exhibition by paying $13.38.

Then I used the TerraPass calculator to find that my personal activities generated about 25,000 pounds of CO2 this year. I paid $148.75 to offset these greenhouse gas emissions.

To compensate for the paint used in this exhibition, I held a forum at the gallery to educate artists on the responsible way to prevent any paint residue from polluting the enviornment.

Let’s all contribute to global survival by being aware of and responsible for the environmental impact of our art practices and our daily lives."

- Nancy Selvage