By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a nifty tool on its website to calculate your household’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is simply a quantification of CO2 emissions from a person, product, or, in the case of this calculator, a home.
I was reluctant at first, because I didn’t want to face how high my household emissions may be, albeit very curious to use this tool. So, I went through the steps of the EPA’s calculator and discovered some useful information about my family’s stats and what we could do to cut our annual CO2 output.
To really get the most out of this exercise, you need some information that might not come off the top of your head. For example, I researched the average gas mileage of my car in addition to the amount of money spent on electricity and gas in my house per month. For all of these stats, the EPA also gives you figures for the average American household; this was nice because I felt like less of a heathen when comparing my house’s output to the average.
My favorite part about this exercise was looking at the ways that the EPA suggested lowering your emissions. Some of the actions they recommended were simpler and more doable than I expected. Regularly maintaining your car, using cold water to wash your clothes, and utilizing your computer’s power-saving features are easy ways to reduce emissions. Of course, recycling is also one of the most effective and achievable actions your household could (and definitely should) take as well.
Seeing these calculations with EPA’s tool made my household’s CO2 emissions a more tangible concept. I always understood the idea of a carbon footprint, but seeing the numbers and figures on my screen made them digestible. This exercise is something that will use in introductory classes in the future, and no doubt students will be able to benefit from its interactive and constructive nature.
Interested in calculating your household’s carbon footprint, click HERE.