Carbon footprint is a term that has come into more common usage in the last decade. What does it mean? Let’s take a closer look.
Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, event, product or organization.
Typically, carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. Carbon footprint is usually measured as tons of CO2 emitted per year. This number increases when you add CO2-equivalent gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases.
Consumption of fossil fuels and electricity play a large role in determining your carbon footprint.
How to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint
Your individual carbon footprint can be affected by many factors. Fossil fuel use and electricity consumption play a major role in your carbon footprint. Online calculators help in providing rough estimates based on factors such as:
• size of your household
• efficiency of appliances
• how much you drive or fly
• what you eat
• how much you recycle
While this is an approximation and not perfect, this can give you a good way to measure your activities and thus know how much CO2 you generate via these activities and and to figure out steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
How can I reduce my carbon footprint?
Many daily activities such as electricity usage (home energy), car driving (transportation) and trash disposal (waste) all cause greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to your household's carbon footprint.
You can reduce your carbon footprint through your personal choices such as:
• driving more-efficient vehicles and maintaining existing vehicles
• using energy-efficient appliances
• insulating your home to reduce heating and air conditioning costs
Individuals and companies also purchase carbon credits to offset their usage. The money raised from this goes into projects such as planting trees or investing in renewable energy. Additional information and resources are available here: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/carbon-footprinting-and-reporting/carbon-footprinting