How to calculate your carbon footprint

Your carbon footprint is very important when it comes to the environment. Every action we take has a bearing on the volume of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that is generated.

Globally, our individual footprint sits at around four tonnes. Think that sounds high? In the United States, that soars to 16 tonnes on average. That shows we have work to do and if we are to avoid a two-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures, we need to push that average down to an average of two tonnes per person by 2050.

There are many, small steps we can take at home and at work to reduce our carbon footprint including eating less meat, using greener, more efficient appliances and adopting solar power solutions. The first step is determining what your carbon footprint is and then taking steps in the right direction to bring it down.

 

How to calculate your carbon footprint at home

There are many personal carbon calculators available, including those at carbonneutral.com.au and The Australian Greenhouse Calculator (AGC).

These calculators measure:

  • your vehicle use
  • electricity consumption
  • the use of gas to heat your home or cook with
  • the waste you produce
  • the water you use
  • the volume of paper you go through
  • how often you travel by air and public transport
  • the types of events you go to.

Try and use the most comprehensive calculator that you can find to analyse all of your behaviour and consumption. This will give you a complete picture of your carbon footprint with real changes you can employ for the future.

How to calculate your carbon footprint at work

Business carbon calculators are a little bit more complex, as you need to analyse your logistics and operations annually and determine changes that can be made to reduce your emissions or offset them.

Businesses need to determine their carbon footprint and then set up a management system, including reporting that can help you work towards Net Zero emissions and carbon neutrality.

The first step is to establish a boundary of all operations and take measurements of all emissions directly caused by your operations, and also those indirectly caused by your operations. The third scope of data you will need is a bit more difficult: working out indirect emissions from activities outside your operations.

You will need access to all of the energy, gas and water bills and consumption information as well as all business travel, including staff commuting to and from work. This data needs to be recorded over a long period of time to ensure it is consistent. From there, you will be able to determine your carbon footprint and you begin to make changes to bring it down.

There are plenty of calculators out there that can assist once you have this data including Carbonfund and Carbon Trust SME Carbon Footprint Calculator.

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