To kick off the new year, we asked NativeEnergy — our longtime partner — to share a few insights with readers on how to make 2011 greener. They offered the following sage advice on how to achieve a green commute.

The holiday season is a time of giving thanks, giving gifts, and eating good food. As we revel in joyful excess, we also begin preparing our New Year’s resolutions. While many of us plan to lose those extra 10 pounds, we often overlook a different kind of weight: carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas, a heat-trapping compound that contributes significantly to climate change. Unfortunately, transportation is a leading cause of carbon dioxide pollution in the U.S., and our commutes advance climate change daily. But if you’ve resolved to be a little more eco-friendly this year, there are several things you can do to reduce the impact of your daily commute. Here are 4.

1. Go 2-wheeled

Kill 2 New Year’s resolutions with one bike. If you drive a relatively short distance to work, consider cycling instead. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, if you bike instead of drive to work once a week, you’ll save an average of 1,385 pounds of carbon dioxide annually! (This is based on a daily round-trip commute of 24.2 miles.) Not only will you green your commute, you’ll also get exercise and relieve stress. Plus, you’ll save money on gas and car repairs, not to mention that pricey gym membership.

2. Go with public transit

Most people know that public transportation is better for the environment than a bunch of cars on the road, but did you know that trading your drive for the bus can also save an average of $9,343 per year? A study released by the American Public Transportation Association calculated the cost of gas, unreserved parking for commuters, and public transit rates to determine this significant amount of annual savings. Think of all the things you could do with an extra $9,343.

3. Go remote

Can you wear pajamas, blast loud music, and chill with your cat at work? If you’re like most people, probably not. Working remotely, however, allows you to kick back in style while getting the job done. Plus, by reducing your car usage, you’ll contribute less pollution to the atmosphere. Ask your boss if you can work from home once in awhile — but don’t mention the pajamas.

4. Offset your commute

If you’re unable to avoid pollution by walking, biking, telecommuting, or taking public transit, you can still reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. With NativeEnergy carbon offsets, you can help sustain projects that reduce carbon dioxide.

How does it work? First, estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that your commute generates using this travel calculator. Then, offset that amount by purchasing carbon offsets, which support the construction of new carbon reducing projects. Easy as that.

So bike, bus, offset, kick it in your PJs, and drop some pounds (of carbon dioxide) in 2011!

More green resources to help you go green and live a more sustainable lifestyle in 2011

NativeEnergy: How carbon offsets work
EPA: Health and environmental effects of climate change

Travel hacks