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offset carbon footprint

Reducing our carbon footprint

Choosing cremation instead of a traditional burial is trending nationwide. The cremation process releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, but Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium is the first funeral home in New Hampshire and Vermont to offset its carbon footprint from cremation.

With our long-term commitment to Native of Burlington, Vermont, Phaneuf makes a positive change via projects that reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG) in the United States and aid those who are without something many of us take for granted – clean drinking water. 

The first project Phaneuf supported was a clean water effort in Ethiopia. Donations helped provide more than 6 million gallons of filtered water to the Sidama Zone.

“By providing upfront funding for the installation of water filters in Sidama, Ethiopia, Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium is working with us to offset the GHG footprint of their three crematories,” said Titus Kabega of Native.  “We are honored to work with Phaneuf as they embark on this journey toward reducing their GHG impact. Each month’s commitment helps avoid 33 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere over the 10-year life of the project.”

In Ethiopia’s Sidama Zone, 75% of the population consumes unfiltered water from rivers, lakes and rain pits, which can cause diarrhea and deadly typhoid. Phaneuf’s contribution added a water filtration system to the region and community-based training in proper sanitation and hygiene. While the Sidama Zone is known for its coffee production, it has little access to sanitation resources for its 8,500 plus people.

“Since we have been using the Hydraid filter, nobody is getting sick. Our kids spend more time in school, and Daro and I can focus more on the coffee farm,” said Bogola Kaeso, a resident of the area. 

Before the clean water project, his family of 10 suffered from typhoid and diarrhea from the unfiltered river water near their home.

“This is a win-win situation. By offsetting our own carbon footprint, we help save lives,” said Buddy Phaneuf, president of Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium. “Going green is a priority for Phaneuf. We are aware that cremation services use natural gas and have CO2 emissions, and we want to counteract that effect on the environment and work towards becoming carbon neutral.”“It’s easy to take clean water for granted, but there are millions of people in the world without access to safe, drinkable water,” Buddy Phaneuf added. 

The next project Phaneuf contributed to was REDD in the Yaeda Valley, which reduced emissions from deforestation in Yaeda Valley, Tanzania.

According to Native, “The REDD project strengthens land tenure, management capacity, and local natural resource management, enhances and diversifies local incomes, and contributes to local, national, and global environmental conservation aims. Successful avoided deforestation is being achieved through a series of interventions including reinforcing the implementation of the approved village land use plan and associated village by-laws, improving forest conservation and management activities, and addressing the primary driver of deforestation: slash and burn agriculture.”

“Both of these projects were developed with our HelpBuild model, so [Phaneuf’s] support early in the project was critical to making them happen,” said Aaron Shavitz, senior sustainability analyst with Native.

The current project Phaneuf supports is green bricks for residential and commercial buildings in Madhya Pradesh, India. Green bricks are important, Native says, because:

“The World Green Building Council and green building standard-setting organizations in the U.S. and the UK encourage corporations, academic institutions and governments to help reduce the environmental impact of our built environment by rethinking their new buildings and building renovations, including “building with low-carbon materials.” 

The Green Bricks for Residential and Commercial Buildings project contributes to these aims by supporting energy efficient production of bricks and concrete blocks, and by utilizing renewable local agricultural biomass in place of traditional fossil fuels. To improve the impact of building materials, green building standards like LEED and BREEAM promote the use of building materials that recycle or reuse other waste materials in place of extracting or producing new materials. This uses less energy overall and emits less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In addition to using energy efficient manufacturing processes, the Green Bricks for Residential and Commercial Buildings Project supports the use of waste materials by incorporating fly ash waste from thermal power plants in place of conventional raw materials. Fly ash can be safely included in construction materials, and its use in this way prevents the waste material from being dumped.”

Phaneuf’s partnership with Native continues through at least 2028

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