With air conditioning, heating, electricity, and water use, the amount of carbon dioxide produced by a single household can be astonishing. As we Americans consume more food, energy, and water than the majority of people living on this earth, we also put out more carbon dioxide per person into the air than most of the developing world. Where do you think you stand and what would a carbon footprint calculator reveal about your CO2 consumption?
Why We Need To Reduce Our Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Although naturally occurring in the environment, too much carbon dioxide is harmful to our planet and our health. As the sun rays shine through the ozone layer and gets reflected back into the atmosphere, the carbon dioxide traps the heat and further warms up our planet. That is why carbon dioxide is also called a greenhouse gas. Since this increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is related to human activities, itâ€™s only logical to reduce (or stop) our activities that contribute to it. One place to start is at home, as 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US come from home energy use. To find out what your household impact on our planet is, you can use a carbon or ecological footprint calculator. There is a dizzying number of environmental impact calculators available on the internet, but we have found the following three to be simple, user-friendly and trustworthy ones: the EPAâ€™s Household Emissions Calculator, the University of Berkeley's CoolClimate Calculator and Earth Day Networkâ€™s Calculator.Â
How Many Earths Do You Need To Live?
To calculate your average CO2 emissions with the first two calculators, you will need to take out your gas, water and electricity bills as well as your own, regular calculator to add some amounts up. The EPAâ€™s and CoolClimate calculators allow you to isolate the emissions at home (as opposed to shopping and transportation) and find out how many tons of carbon dioxide you produce per year directly from your home.
EPAâ€™s Household Emissions Calculator
There are differences between the two: the EPAâ€™s will subtract a certain amount of pounds of CO2 emissions based on what you recycle, while CoolClimate allows you to calculate your â€œsecondary carbon footprintâ€ as produced by what you eat, and what type of goods and services you use.
Berkeley's CoolClimate Calculator
As for Earth Dayâ€™s calculator, it calculates a more overall ecological footprint (transportation of all sorts, eating habits, etc), and you can do without referring to bills. What makes Earth Dayâ€™s calculator stand apart is that it estimates the number of Earths we would need if everyone lived like you; the results can be quite shocking, even for those who see themselves as green.
Earth Day Networkâ€™s Calculator
Depending on what you wish to calculate and at which degree of precision, you might prefer one calculator over the other, with the EPAâ€™s being the most technical and the Earth Dayâ€™s the most user-friendly and thought-provoking. All three give you the opportunity to compare your results with other average, national households, and provide useful suggestions as to how to reduce your CO2 emissions.
On The Road To Change
For many of us, changes need to be made to lower our carbon footprint and be greener. Everything comes down to the way we live and what we consume.Â Every choice has an impact and it is up to the individual to make sure they are part of the solution.Â Even simple changes in habit can help reduce your impact on our planet. One of the best ways to change habits is through awareness, as well as through support. Certifying your green lifestyle might help, as well as sharing your scores and your pledges in the box below to encourage others to be eco-conscious and eco-responsible. Thank you for sharing.
JustLiveGreener brings you in depth-information about environmental issues as well as tips for a greener, more eco-friendly way of living that respects nature while enhancing quality of life.