Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!

Conserve Energy & Reduce Use of Fossil Fuels

LED lights powered by the sun

LED lights powered by the sun

What can you to to reduce conserve energy, reduce use of fossil fuels and keep your Carbon Footprint small?   Start by figuring out what activities that your campers are doing that are producing carbon emissions.  There may be simple steps that you can do to reduce your energy load and use of fuels.

What is my carbon footprint?

The Coolingman website contains a handy spreadsheet to calculate your carbon emissions.  This will help you figure out what you need to do to reduce your carbon footprint.  However, there are also many simple things you can do listed below.  Where are you using to produce energy?  How are you getting to the playa?  How much driving are you doing to get there and on playa?  Can you carpool and coordinate driving?  Do you have campers that can take the Burner Express?


Incorporate energy-efficient light bulbs like LEDs or EL wire (not disposable glow sticks). Use rechargeable batteries. There are also many handy lights that come with their own solar cells. Here is the Burning Man Resource page for Lights and Electronics.   The Alternative Energy Zone also has a set of resource on using LED lights here.


BRC Burner Express

BRC Burner Express

Vehicle emissions contribute over 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions from Burning Man.  Coordinate with other participants to carpool or jump on the Burner Express, to reduce your transportation costs and impacts to the event!  Explore options for sharing space on a truck with other theme camps from your region. Note that many Regional contacts coordinate to ship different camps’ supplies to the playa.  Once your camps supplies are on playa, consider renting a shipping container from Burning Man to reduce transporting the supplies back and forth each year!  Check with your local Regional contact and check out the Burning Man rideshare page.

Get your car’s maintenance done on a regular basis. A well-maintained car produces lower emissions and will make it all the way to BRC (and back again) and won’t leave you on the side of the road.

Don’t forget to keep your vehicle or RV from dripping oil, gasoline or other fluids (gray water or black water) on to the playa. BLM did a study on this and requests that we use pans or other barriers under our cars, especially older cars, to prevent drips. Be aware that BLM, Earth Guardian and Ranger volunteers walk around the city looking for potential violations. If in doubt, slip cardboard under your vehicle to check. Leave No Drips!


Use renewable energy sources (human, solar, wind, biodiesel). Share  energy generation with neighboring camps. Consider a bio-fuel generator rather than a gas one. Share generator power with your neighbors!

Black Rock Solar has great information on going solar on playa!  Check out their information here!  The first four are some of the smaller Plug and Play units – they may be all you need!  If you’ve got the crazy need for more power (and the funds) the last company has much larger units.

  • Goal Zero Goal Zero (owned by energy giant NRG)

    Black Rock Solar

    Black Rock Solar

  • SolSolutions  (owned by a Bay Area burner)
  • Zamp Solar – Custom kits
  • SunForce Products
  • Be Prepared Solar Generators

Here is a comparison of a few of the different units.

The Alternative Energy Zone has been generator-free on the playa for many years! If you must use a generator, consider biodiesel fuels instead of gasoline. Visit Snow Koan Solar on playa to check out their solar-based recharging station.


Cooking fuel use is typically pretty small for most camps, who has time to cook!   However, if you’re gonna cook, why not do it using the power of the sun!   Solar cookers, both DIY and purchased are fun to use and low tech.  Earth Guardians have our own Alternative Energy Garden where we demonstrate how to use a few different solar ovens every day.  Come on by with questions, and some yummy food.

Carbon Offsets

At the end of the day, when you’d done all you can to reduce your emissions, consider purchasing carbon credits to offset your transportation and energy (generators) emissions.  There are many different companies out there offering carbon credits for purchase or offering to plant trees.   Here is more information on offsets from cooling man.

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