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Carbon Footprint Calculator
Besides the carbon emission calculator created by CoolClimate, there are also other carbon emission calculator exist. The purpose of carbon calculator is to provide households a basic idea of how much energy they use and how much greenhouse gas they produce. After calculation, the system will come up with a detailed analysis of each energy consumption sector, compare the data with the national/regional/global average level and suggest some feasible ways to reduce greenhouse gas emission. However, the most important thing is to stimulate behavioral changes for households after they realize how much energy usage and carbon emission they caused.
Of the carbon emission calculator I found, the calculator made by BP , the British multinational gas and oil company, is especially interesting. The calculator can be used to calculate household carbon emission for fifteen countries’ households, including Australia, Canadian, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, UK, and USA. The calculator is easy to use and requires users to submit their information on household size, apartment size, heating system types, some behavioral information, average annual public and private transportation travel distance and etc. Then, users will get a summary of how much energy they use or CO2 they produce. However, the calculator ignores the geographical influence over people’s energy consumption. For example, apparently people live in northeastern China will use more energy on heating than people live in southern China, because northeastern China is much cooler than Southern China. As a result, the average energy consumption for both parts of China is very different. Also, the income factor which changes people’s consumption behaviors is neglected. Generally, people with higher income are believed to consumed more energy and thus cause more carbon emission than people with lower income. Generalizing the whole countries’ consumption behavior with the same criteria undermines the credibility of the calculator to households. What’s more, no specific and critical suggestions regarding the household’s consumption behaviors are proposed from the calculator: only a national average level baseline is provided. In the end, the households still do not know how to reduce their carbon emission.
Comparing to the calculator from BP, the CoolClimate Carbon Footprint Calculator for US households and small business is more detailed and educational. The methodology of this calculator is similar to that from BP but the calculator works both according to different states in the United States and the national average standard. There are six parts of the calculator, an Introduction that about basic household demographic information and income level; a Transportation part about miles travelled; a Housing part about energy consumed (electricity, natural gas, water and etc.); a shopping part about basic expenditures (foods and goods). After filling out all these information (which might be a little detailed and sometimes annoyed), households will be able to see a summary of carbon emission in metric tons CO2/year, emission equivalence of number of burning barrels of oil and of driving miles of 25 mpg cars. The results might be striking to households. After this, the last part is Take Action, which makes specific suggestions of how to reduce carbon emission (and even ways to save money from the reduction!). However, currently we only have calculator for few countries, including the United States, US Virgin Island and Sweden. We are working on Germany and China now and our goal is to finally build carbon footprint calculator for most countries in the world.