Help me calculate my Carbon Footprint!
July 8, 2007 8:26 PM   Subscribe

EnviroFilter: What is the best tool to calculate my carbon footprint?

Inspired by the weekends concerts, what are the best online/offline tools to calculate my carbon footprint in order to offset it?

Bonus points for anyone that can direct me to a kick-ass spreadsheet that does it. (Websites are good too!)
posted by OzMoges to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't mean to be obvious, but a web search might do it for you?
posted by kcm at 8:36 PM on July 8, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah I did that and found thousands of them obviously. Im after MeFi recommendations which are often the best..
posted by OzMoges at 8:54 PM on July 8, 2007

Here's a fairly simple one which you can either plug in kilowatt hours & natural gas usage if you know them, or use the national averages.

If you're not sure what your natural gas usage is, you can estamate/calculate it here. Electricity usage calculator is here (scroll down).

Excitingly, my carbon footprint is far below the national average..!
posted by soviet sleepover at 9:24 PM on July 8, 2007

I've used this one. My footprint is below the national average, but still way too high. Guess I need to grow my own vegetables now.
posted by esilenna at 5:30 AM on July 9, 2007

I've never really found one that I thought was super. I tried both of the ones here, and I think a more accurate description of both of them would be "calculate certain aspects of your carbor footprint and not others." Soviet sleepover's link gets the major sources accurately BUT this could be a really inaccurate calculation, say, if you crank up your AC at work all day vs. if you have a job in which you don't use AC at all. Or if you eat tons of new zealand apples or argentinian steak. It's quite complicated to calculate your entire footprint.

If you want to buy offsets, concentrate on driving and flying. Throwing in the energy you use at home is complicated, but it is a good sign that soviet sleepover's link asks you which state you are in, as each state has a different mix of electricity sources (which all produce different amounts of carbon). I hope that is why they ask. What bothers me about that site is that they want you to buy the offsets from them at the end of the assessment, hardly seems like an unbiased source of information.

If you are thinking about buying offsets, not all offsets are equal. I consider this to be the more important part of your question. Some companies have poor auditing practices. There is a great study I read on this, I'm going to look for it and post it here later. But my conclusion from the study was to use Native Energy.
posted by Eringatang at 9:43 AM on July 9, 2007

Found the report, it is at a great website that reviews a number of airline carbon calculators, amongst other tools for consumers like you. I downloaded the whole report, which was very interesting, but the website is probably enough info for you. And it comes from Tufts U, not a company.
posted by Eringatang at 7:23 PM on July 9, 2007

The FAQ for the earthdaynetwork calculator that esilanna linked points you at an excel file that is very detailed.

The quick calculator certainly has problems. For example, I've never owned a car, that isn't only a big improvement on mobility, but also a big improvement on goods and services. Also, I don't think you can ignore work related impacts. Oh well..
posted by Chuckles at 8:31 PM on July 9, 2007

That is an overall ecological footprint calculator, not a carbon calculator. Of course it is the overall that counts..
posted by Chuckles at 8:35 PM on July 9, 2007

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