A carbon footprint is the total sum of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person. As we are aware, the increasing concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere can accelerate climate change and global warming, it is very necessary to measure these emissions from our day to day activities. The first step towards managing GHG emissions is to measure them. There are some standards and guidelines to measure GHG emissions like GHG protocol, ISO 14064, the more comprehensive one Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), market-based mechanisms like Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Voluntary Carbon Standards (VCS), etc. Out of them, ISO 14064 is an offset protocol and independent, voluntary GHG project accounting standard help to quantify GHG emission of the organization, event, product, or person.
The following schematic shows how ISO14064 help to calculate the carbon footprint of an organization, event, product, or person;
Calculate your home Carbon footprint;
Our day to day activities is moreover dependent on electricity which is mostly coming from coal-based power plants, Diesel and Petrol for our vehicles and LPG for cooking in our kitchen. All of the energy we use is derived from these fossil fuels which are GHG intensive. The following methodology helps you to calculate your carbon footprint resulting from the use of Electricity, Petrol, Diesel, and LPG.
Step 1- Data collection;
Electricity: Collect data on your annual electricity bills. You can find the number of power units (In India, one unit = 1KWh of electricity) consumed in your home from the monthly electricity bills issues by State Electricity Board/ Distribution/Collection companies. Take monthly consumed units and then multiply them by 12 (No of months in a year).
Petrol/Diesel: Add the number of liters of petrol/diesel you used in your car/motorcycle in a year. If you do not remember the exact value right now, please add average values.
LPG: Generally one LPG cylinder has around 14 kg of liquefied petroleum gas. Multiply the number of cylinders used in a year by 14 and add the resulted value in the calculation.
Step 2 – Calculation Methodology;
Electricity : Input value (in KWh/Yr) X 0.85 (Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2)
Petrol: Input Value(In Litres/Yr) X 2.296(Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2)
Diesel: Input Value(In Litres/Yr) X 2.653 (Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2)
LPG: Input Value(In Kg/Yr) X 2.983 (Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2)
Your Carbon Footprint : Add (1+2+3+4) = Output value in (Kg of CO2)
Divide final value (no 5) with 1000 so that you get a total carbon footprint in a ton of CO2.
The final Carbon footprint should be in tons of CO2 (tCO2.).
Know more about the source of emission factors;
Electricity = 0.85 kg CO2 per KWh, Source: CO2 emission factor database, version 06, CEA (Government of India), http://www.cea.nic.in/reports/planning/cdm_co2/cdm_co2.htm
Motor gasoline/ Petrol = 2.296kg CO2 per liter,Source: Emission factors are taken from the file “Emission factors from across the sector -tool”, extracted from http://www.ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools/alltools
Diesel= 2.653kg CO2 per liter, Source: Emission factors are taken from the file “Emission factors from across the sector -tool”, extracted from http://www.ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools/alltools
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) = 2.983 kg CO2 per kilogram,Source: Emission factors are taken from the file “Emission factors from across the sector -tool” extracted from http://www.ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools/alltools
Shailesh is post graduate in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute (FRI) University, Dehradun, India. Presently he is working in the areas of Environmental and Renewable Energy Advisory Services. He has started GreenCleanGuide.com during his college days.