Carbon Challenge issued in Mt. Washington Valley

The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has kicked off the Mt. Washington Valley Climate Challenge, an initiative aimed at reducing environmental impacts by residents and businesses.

The chamber’s “Green Team” developed the challenge in partnership with the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge.

At its roots, the valley-wide challenge allows participants to reduce their environmental impact by learning how to measure and reduce their carbon footprint, said Rob Burbank, chair of the team and public affairs director for the Appalachian Mountain Club.

He said the initiative is built around a Web-based carbon footprint calculator developed by the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge.

“We wanted to find a way to encourage the valley’s businesses and residents to make a commitment to the environment and, through simple changes in everyday behavior, make a positive, and measurable difference,” said Burbank.

The team’s initial goal is to involve 5 percent of chamber member businesses over the first month, and 5 percent of the Mt. Washington Valley community — or approximately 500 households — over the coming year, Burbank said.

“That level of community-wide participation can result in a reduction of 5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Burbank, who said progress toward the goal will be tracked and periodically reported to the community as the valley’s collective carbon footprint is reduced over time.

“We wanted to reduce solid waste and encourage recycling, energy conservation and carpooling. And we wanted to be able to do it in a way that valley residents and businesses would be able to measure their progress,” said Burbank.

To take the challenge, participants simply visit the Web site ( and plug in numbers pertaining to their energy usage, recycling habits and other day-to-day activities. At the same time, they can pledge to reduce or increase those numbers, as the case may be, and they’re able to estimate their carbon footprint both before and after they take the challenge and make their pledge.