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How To Calculate Your Carbon Foot Printing

Mar 22, 2008
We have all heard and seen the adverts for carbon emission and foot printing. However, a lot of us do not know what all of these information and warnings mean. What is a carbon footprint and how do we reduce it? One thing that some of us may know is that it has some connection to climate change and if we do not act now we could be looking at a bleak future. Therefore, we need to understand effective carbon management techniques.

First of all what is carbon footprint? This is the process of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions by an individual, group, event or organisation. This is believed to be adding to the dramatic climate change, known as the greenhouse effect. These emissions can be either direct, use of fuels, or indirect from individuals travelling to work or from organisations and their supply chains. Carbon management organisations have taken the initiative t into helping large organisations to reduce their carbon footprint.

Direct emissions can from industries and factories that result in combustion of fuels, gas emissions during operation, running of large vehicle fleets and production or manufacturing. These can also include heavy usage of electricity and appliances, heating and lighting that consume a lot of fuel. Indirect emissions include companies and organisations that are in production but have very little control over the emissions.

For large organisations and businesses, carbon management is not an easy step and can often mean a change in structure. These steps will however, mean a long-term goal for ongoing energy and environmental efficiency, therefore, it could also mean ample money saving for the company. The key is to recognise where most of the emissions come from; these are often gas, heating, electricity and transport. Fortunately, there are a few easy steps to get your company started.

Calculate how much you are using, measure the amount of electricity used and where you are using this. Workout how much of the day you need heating and find alternatives to conserving heat into the building. Some industries need to combust fuels as a result gas emissions are likely to be high. There you need to recognise exactly how much is emitted and how you can, best reduce this.

Making changes such as being more energy efficient is a good way of beginning the carbon management process. If you find you are spending more on heating and electricity, reduce the usage and look for alternatives. Instead of having normal radiators, try using under floor heating systems, which can act as a cooling system during the summer. Furthermore, you will also need to measure how much electricity you use. This is something you cannot always help but it will initially be something to look into and research alternatives.

Another approach is to measure your own transport usage. Those that own their car and use it to travel into work may not even realise that this adding to the carbon emissions. Therefore, finding alternatives such using public transport, sharing rides, or if possible walking or riding a bike, will help reduce these emissions dramatically.

Companies can approach carbon management organisations to help begin this step to reduce their carbon footprint. These normally include training for staff and in depth understanding of the consequences of carbon emission and climate change. More research and proactive approaches will ensure long-term energy efficiency.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is knowledgeable about carbon management, having already taken steps to reduce her carbon footprint.
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