What is a Carbon Footprint?
The term “carbon footprint” refers to the amount of carbon in the form of greenhouse gases (specifically CO2, measured in tons), being emitted by an individual, organization, event or even a product, directly or indirectly. It depends on the activities and locations of emission. For example, if you are driving a car, the amount of carbon-dioxide released into the atmosphere will differ from the amount generated by a steel-manufacturing plant.
What are the Main Contributors to a Carbon Footprint?
Climate scientists and geologists around the world have broadly classified various sources of greenhouse gas emissions into the following categories:
Which Countries are Responsible for a Higher Carbon Footprint?
The contribution of a country to the carbon footprint depends on the amount of CO2 emitted by the country per capita (or person) in tons. Most large economies are responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to Statista, until 2016, the following countries ranked high on CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions:
How Can Individuals Reduce their Carbon Footprint?
There are plenty of ways in which a person can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener planet on a daily basis, such as:
- Limiting the consumption of meat
- Driving less or driving vehicles that don’t use fossil fuels
- Unplugging devices at homes and offices when not in use.
- Planting more trees
- Eating more organic foods
- Reducing the quantity of retail fashion purchases
- Drying of clothes through traditional methods, such as line-drying
- Using cleaner sources of energy, like solar power and wind power
- Take shorter showers
- Not washing clothes or dishes in warm water
- Turning down the thermostats and ACs
- Using smart technologies
- Re-using food containers, disposable plastic bags and shopping bags.
What is a Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator?
In order to reduce the carbon footprint, a greenhouse gas calculator could be an ideal option. It helps you understand greenhouse gas reduction targets and strategies to be implemented in order to do so. The calculator uses the Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool (AVERT) mechanism to convert one unit of energy in Kilowatt-Hours to the equivalent amount of CO2 emission expected from using that amount of energy.
It is important to note that:
- These figures are approximate and shouldn’t be used in formal research reports.
- The calculation includes line losses.
- No other greenhouse gas, apart from CO2, is considered here.
What Does Solar Power Mean?
Businesses and residential properties can use energy derived from the sun, converted into heat or electricity. Two elements are responsible for the generation of solar power – the surface on which sunrays fall and the method of converting these rays into viable forms of energy. It can either include the direct method of investing in solar panels for conversion to electricity or through an indirect manner, such as solar thermals, used for producing heat.
What are the Economic Benefits of Employing Solar Power?
It is only in the initial installation phase that money is required for solar power. The resulting energy generated is free. Users can also be connected to electricity grids, where they could receive credits for selling surplus electricity to energy providers. Solar panels and thermal collectors require little maintenance too.
How Can Solar Power Help Reduce the Carbon Footprint?
Solar energy not only helps in reducing electricity bills, but also contributes towards making the planet greener.
- Solar photovoltaic cells do not require water to generate electricity, thereby conserving this precious natural resource.
- There is no need to burn fossil fuels, which means no emission of greenhouse gases. This also reduces air pollution.
- Lesser amount of toxic gas emission contributes to lower greenhouse gas effects. This means less global warming and slowing of climate change.
- It is the cleanest source of energy, reducing the residential carbon footprint.
- It helps reduce the burden on fossil fuels, which are non-renewable energy sources.