Carbon footprint calculators

8 05 2008

I have come across quite a few carbon footprint /energy /pollution calculators. I decided to write this post and create a working list. Consumer specific calculators are very basic and simple and give the end user just a sense of fossil fuel use.

Pollution calculator is a slightly different concept. Based on your electricity bill, state you live in, building type- residential, commercial etc, you can get your contribution to pollution in GHG emissions (CO2), SO2, NOx and Hg

Carbon calculator from “An Inconvenient Truth” uses information on lifestyle, no of flights, car used, household size, location and energy bill to calculate tonnes of Co2 per year.

EPA’s Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick is another calculator for a regular homeowner. If you have one year’s energy bills, zipcode, sqft, age of house, type of energy source, you can calculate your home’s energy performance. I have tried this tool, it is very easy, user friendly and intuitive. The result will tell you how you compare to average in that area.

I recently went to a lectures series called Personal, Professional and Political Climate solutions. I found out about the EPA’s Energy Star calculator. This is an advanced energy management tool for buildings called the Portfolio Manager. The tool uses similar building type data to benchmark energy performance. If you have the energy data (energy meters data), gross floor area and other operational data of the building you can benchmark energy performance of your building. It gives performance on a scale of 1-100 ( percentile performance) as compared to similar buildings nationwide. Energy Star Buildings rating 75 or more may qualify for the Energy Star label. However, a qualified PE has to come out to your building, verify your data and approve your building for Energy Star label. I have not tried Portfolio Manager myself since I do not own any building! Intuitively I feel it is easy to follow and fill out. I found out about this quick reference guide for Portfolio Manager and wanted to share this info. Quick reference guide gives step by step directions to using Portfolio Manager. Check out the second link

This post has become very exciting as I discover/learn more than I thought. I think this post will evolve and grow. The short list I have thus far is a good start.

So I am here again to reinforce my list. Thanks to the comment from Pranay, I checked out this calculator with cool graphics and very user friendly interface. There is one initial hurdle. You need to register yourself with Encraft, based in UK, to access or play around with the tool. They ask for address, email, phone. I liked this personal calculator’s very vivid graphics. You need input data pertaining to home-electricity/natural/ oil annual usage, public transport, private transport(cars), flights(domestic,long haul, european). The output graph tracks CO2 emissions by these 4 principal categories suggesting an end user areas of action. The graph also gives qualitative performance which wows you! Am I a beast/earth savior! Check it out…

I was reading an article in Mercury news and found out 4 new carbon calculators online. Most of them are simple and easy for common people. Most of them also give the option of buying carbon offset if you plan to offset carbon emissions due to a planned vacation or your entire calendar year of living.

The carbon calculator from Environmental Defense (non profit working for environmental justice/ problems) is a simple one that takes into account your state, type of building (single family vs apt), no of household members, car type and vehicle miles per year, air trips and gives an outcome. The result is compared to average American footprint. I tried this tool and found that air flights were the biggest portion of my footprint. Try this out and find new ways to change your lifestyle.

The second calculator is from Native Energy’s carbon emissions calculator . This is a simple one that calculated in 3 different categories: Driving, Flying and Rail/Bus. You can calculate carbon emissions in these 3 categories separately and add them up in the final step. They calculate emissions by start and end destinations or mileage ( if you know the values!). At the end of this exercise you have the option to purchase carbon offset which they claim is third party verified. Carbon offsets buying and selling is another topic in itself. I do not want to write about the verification process and authenticity of these offerings.

The third calculator I found is from Climate Trust – a non profit that buys high quality green house gas offsets through contracted purchases from different projects on behalf of funders and sells them. The Personal calculator is simple and with user appealing graphics in 3 segments: Home, Auto and Air Travel. On the Home front you need to input state, home type (single family vs apt), home size. Auto category needs no of vehicles and type of vehicle. Air Travel asks for the no of total hours you fly in a year. The result gives your total emissions and the option to offset the emissions through donations to support projects that reduce CO2 from the atmosphere. Example of a solution is: $12.00 per ton of CO2, I could offset the amount of CO2 emitted in a year by donating to projects that offset emissions in a monthly donation or yearly amount to offset the full footprint. I will not go into the details of this offset calculation. Check out the link for this calculator.

There is another calculator from a UK company called Climate Care. The tool calculates emissions from Flights and cars. Flights calculation uses start and end destination info. And offers carbon offset @ pound 7.5 per tonne of CO2 plus VAT.

So I found out about another carbon footprint calculator. This seems like a never ending list. Every non profit or profit working in the climate change/ carbon offset market seem to have their version of a carbon footprint calculator . This one is from 3Degrees. I found out about them from Virtual Energy Forum, they are marketers, sellers of RECs (renewable energy certificates) and third party certified carbon offset. They calculate the footprint in three categories: Home electricity, Car travel and Air travel. You need to input Kwh use every month or type of your house (sqft/type); car manufacturer, model name and year; air travel domestic and international. This calculates carbon footprint for the year. Again, the graphics are simple and user friendly.




One response

15 05 2008

I found one of these calculators on the web and thought they were nice.
Do have a look they are very impressive . Visit


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