Stockbridge Green Architects

Possess the Future - Zero Carbon Emissions

How's your carbon footprint?

 
 

It is called “Anthropogenic” global warming … man-made. There is a man or woman who made a decision that created every pound of the excess carbon in the atmosphere. This includes just about everybody within the impact zone of modern industrialization. This includes all of us and most of them. These decisions continue daily. The path to backing away from AGW is in the decision we make. The challenge is to hold each other accountable for our carbon based decisions and to change our minds. To increase awareness, I created a simple metric for anyone who is interested in assessing their carbon footprint in an accurate & meaningful way. Action can naturally follow though it may not be easy.


 
 

If you are concerned about your carbon footprint, collect the data and do this simple calculation to determine what I am calling your Energy Quotient or EnQ.

 

EnQ = (ERENEWABLE (BTU) / ETOTAL (BTU) ) x 100

 

It will most likely yield a number between 0 – 130. The similarity between this result and those associated with IQ is no coincidence. On my scale, a result of 100 indicates that energy-wise, you are carbon neutral. All the energy you consume comes directly from non-carbon sources. Above 100 to 125 indicates compensation for embodied energy in your other consumer habits. Above 125 you are an energy producer providing clean energy for others; a small step back from the precipice.

 

Do the math. I have created an excel file to make the job easier. Click on the spreadsheet link

 

Account for all for the electricity and carbon fuels you purchase and consume (oil, natural gas, gasoline and diesel fuel, coal, wood) in a year. If some of your electricity comes from renewable sources from your own facilities, or by contractual arrangement from a utility, this is separated from the rest (ERENEWABLE) in this calculation. If you purchase transportation services, for air travel assume an equivalent of 20 miles per gallon per person for miles traveled, for train assume 1,000 miles per gallon per person, for car assume 20 miles per gallon per car trip. It is possible that you use energy from solar, wind & geo-thermal sources that is not converted to electricity. This might include pumping water using wind, mechanical energy from falling water to operate machinery or heat or cool from geo-thermal.

 

If you are a business owner and you produce widgets and make a decision to use carbon based fuels in the process. That purchase goes on your personal tab. For example, if you own a shipping company and you haul tomatoes from Argentina to Newark, New Jersey, its impacts go on your tab. If your company sends employees flying all over the world on a weekly basis, that goes on your tab. That is your personal choice. There are individuals with enormous carbon footprints.

 

I am including a contingency for embodied energy in the products that you purchase and consume in this calculation. There are too many products and too little time and data to determine a precise value. For the purpose of this calculation embodied energy is estimated as a 25% add-on that can be compensated for.

 

Convert all of the quantities to a common unit; British Thermal Units or BTU.

 

Click on the link. Do the math.