Not many of us actually know what carbon footprint means to us. Everyone talks about trying to reduce our carbon footprint and how we should be going about it so in brief what does it mean to you.
We all have an effect on the environment, by how we get around, whether it be by public transport, our own transport or flying to fantastic holiday destinations. There are many ways we have an impact and it can be a difficult to work out your overall impact.
Carbon, what is it and what do we mean?
You will hear people talk about ‘carbon emissions‘ and ‘carbon footprints‘ which all means carbon dioxide (co²) emissions. When we burn carbon based fuels carbon dioxide is released and almost all fuels are carbon based. For example –
- Diesel and petrol
- Gas, oil and coal
- Aviation Fuel
Carbon Dioxide is also a greenhouse gas and by this we mean that it traps the heat from sun and keeps our earth warm. Too much carbon dioxide leads to climate change and then leads to global warming which again is a terms that we hear all too often now. There are other gases that can also lead to climate changes such as methane and some countries and organisations do count this as part of their carbon emissions.
“For an individual’s carbon footprint measurement carbon dioxide is the most important”
Have I got a Carbon Footprint?
An individual persons carbon footprint is measured by the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere because of the electricity and other such fuels that you use. It is measured in tonnes and your carbon footprint will depend upon:
- How much energy is used to heat your home
- How many electrical appliances you use
- What kind of transport you use, public, your own and flying
Having an understanding of your own carbon footprint helps you to understand the overall impact that it is having on the environment. It can also then help you to understand on how to reduce your own personal impact.
Did you know that in 2010 the UK produced 496 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Some of this is produced by business and industry – but around 30% comes directly from household energy use. Energy use in the home accounts for around 3.2 tonnes per household, and that is not even including emissions from transport usage,
So, how do we measure our carbon footprint?
This can be calculated by using a carbon footprint calculator which is available for you to use here. You will be asked to enter details about your home, your travel and your appliances and the calculator will then estimate how many tonnes or carbon dioxide you produce in a year.
How do I now reduce my carbon footprint?
Once you have completed your calculation there is an option to be able to put a plan together, here you can select options and the calculator will best advise you
- The easiest way to reduce
- Best Value for Money options
- Saves the most CO²
So for example you may be able to complete some of the following which will all help to reducing emissions.
- Insulating within your home
- Buying energy-efficient appliances
- Switching off electronics at the wall
- Walking, cycling or using public transport
- Holidays maybe closer to home
The UK aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. To help make that happen, we should all aim to achieve a low carbon footprint.