How Is A Carbon Footprint Calculated

Carbon footprint is essentially the number of greenhouse gases that are produced through the actions we perform. It is a measurement as to how much we contribute towards polluting our environment and society on a whole.

Generally, the concept of the carbon footprint was established for largescale industries in an attempt to measure and reduce the amount of carbon release produced through their operations.

However, in recent times, it is also being used on an individual level to encourage the adaptation of a greener lifestyle by finding alternative sources of energy.

Due to countless varying actions that are carried out through the day, it becomes impossible to calculate the exact amount of carbon footprint for an individual.

However, by encapsulating our daily activities along with focusing on our indirect contributions, we can approximate a certain value of the full cycle of all aspects of our personal consumption.

To calculate the most accurate amount of carbon footprint, we need to take into perspective two distinctive factors: our personal consumption and the share of national emissions over which, we have little to no control.

To measure the value of our personal consumption, we derive our daily activities into five different categories namely, housing, travel, food, products, and services.

Once all these measurements are added and taken into account, we multiply the final value with a variable known as Emission Factor (EF). The emission factor basically constitutes the national emission that we cannot control.

These emissions are considered to be indirect factors that we contribute towards unconsciously at times. For example, if we make a capital investment in a specific company, we would not be aware of their internal carbon footprint caused by the operations to produce the revenue we paid for.

Related Article:- 10 simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Thus, for the sake of simplicity, we multiply the EF with our overall personal consumption to calculate the final value of our carbon footprint.

This may turn out to become a little complicated at times due to the fact that it may be difficult to know the exact EF value of a certain entity. Depending upon the type of action, one can conduct online research to know the EF value and multiply it with the individual’s consumption to find out the carbon footprint.

Moving back to the constituents that make up our personal consumption, we first discuss the housing footprint which consists of the energy we consume while we occupy the space in our homes.

credit to Horizon Nuclear Power Youtube channel

How Is A Carbon Footprint Calculated?

Housing Carbon Footprint

Housing Carbon Footprint
Using too much energy?

Energy consumption, in this regard, covers both major and minor use of energy ranging from high-end consumer products such as washing machines to small, unnoticeable items such as an irrelevant plugged in charger. Additionally, other components are also to be considered such as the trash that is produced from our homes as well as the usage of resources including gas and water.

Travel Carbon Footprint

Travel footprint is relatively simpler to calculate. All we require is to measure the distance we travel on whatever mode of transmission we use for travelling. The amount of fuel burned during this period of time will ultimately be considered as the carbon footprint associated with our travelling needs.

This value can greatly vary depending upon the mode of transmission. For example, someone travelling the same distance on an aeroplane will produce a much greater carbon footprint than those who travel by car.

Food Consumption

food consumption carbon footprint
Try sourcing your food locally.

In what may sound like a surprise, the food we consume also adds up to our overall carbon footprint. The food we may eat does not directly contribute towards carbon emissions, however, we need to evaluate the supply of that particular food item, thus, leading to an indirect contribution.

For calculating our food footprint, we simply multiply the food energy, in Cal, and multiply it with the relevant EF value.

Product Carbon Footprint

Similar to food footprint, our product footprint also revolves around calculating the lifecycle of each product we purchase from the market and multiplying it with the EF value.

In this case, however, there may arise some complexities mainly because of how each individual product has a different lifecycle. Finding the lifecycle time of each product may become time-consuming.

Services Carbon Footprint

The services category is somewhat different from the previous categories as it involves calculating the lifecycle of each service we make use of.

The calculation can become quite complex since the services may vary greatly. For example, opening a bank account or getting a haircut will account for two services which are completely different in nature.

The bank account services will last for a far greater time period and will be consistent in comparison to getting a haircut which is only availed for a short period of time and has fewer known occurrences.

For the final output, we simply add up all the calculations gathered from these five categories. The result will be generate the carbon footprint we produce over a certain period of time.

The extensive workup will also distinctively draw a comparison as to which category generates the largest amount of carbon footprint. The statistics can be further used by individuals to adopt an alternative lifestyle which will help them reduce the amount of carbon footprint that is produced.

and this is How Is A Carbon Footprint Calculated.

For personal use and a free carbon footprint calculator, head over to and answer as much as you can and your get your carbon footprint.

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