By Michael Mahler
Lately you might be asking yourself what you can do to be more environmentally aware. Nowadays, it is easier to see how environmentally friendly you are, thanks to carbon footprint calculators. These online tools simplify and accelerate the process of calculating your environmental impact, and de-stress the process. That being said, which carbon footprint calculator is the best one to use? With calculators like CoolClimate, WWF, EPA, Greenly and so many more on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one is ideal for you as an individual or your company. Read on to discover the answer.
What Does A Carbon Footprint Calculator Measure?
A carbon footprint calculator is a very useful tool that allows an individual or company to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions they are generating. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses that result from a set of actions. The greenhouse gas emissions that comprise a carbon footprint can be measured for an individual like yourself, a company, a community, a service, and more. Each process that enables us to have access to electricity, fuel, food, transportation, water, waste management, and other natural resources, causes a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions as a byproduct.
For most people, CO2 emissions of a car are the largest contributor to their footprint, as traveling by car is so very common these days – this is a pertinent example of one of the many ways in which human processes generate greenhouse gas emissions. A Carbon Footprint Calculator helps us break down each of these processes and figure out our total impact – thus enabling us to take steps to reduce or offset our emissions in each of the major categories spelled out in these calculators.
What Makes A Great Carbon Footprint Calculator?
There are many factors that help make a Carbon Footprint Calculator great. A few key ones are:
- The calculator requests a sufficient amount of information from the user to perform an accurate calculation. Many carbon footprint calculators try to oversimplify their method in an effort to attract more users. While this may be a popular tactic, oversimplifying and not getting enough information can result in inaccurate carbon footprint calculations.
- Ease of use is another helpful factor. A CO2 calculator that creates easy categories to work within and with an easy-to-navigate user interface can help set it apart from the pack.
- A great Carbon Footprint Calculator also teaches users during their journey of using the product. It can impart knowledge of how to reduce emissions on a category-by-category basis.
- There are also calculators that compare your carbon footprint to the average of those in the same country as you, and even those averages of other countries.
Individual Carbon Footprint Calculators vs. Corporate Calculators
As previously mentioned, CO2 calculators are used for both individuals and corporations. While the use-case is similar, there are some differences in how the carbon footprint calculator is applied for each case. Typically, when an individual is calculating a footprint for themselves, they use information regarding the energy used in their home, aspects of their transportation, and actions they repeatedly engage in during their everyday life.
When it comes to calculating the carbon footprint of a business or corporation, the complexity can increase. For instance, instead of using information from their homes, information is used from a manufacturing or office facility that they work at, or multiple, if applicable. Another key difference is that the corporation can input its revenue to create a direct comparison with other companies that make a similar amount of revenue, and see how they stack up against one another. This enables corporations to realize that they need to be more efficient in their emission usage.
Industry-Specific Carbon Emissions Calculators
An example of an industry-specific carbon footprint calculator is CoolClimate. CoolClimate is a carbon footprint calculator that does everything stated above for a business. One other carbon footprint calculator that is solely made for businesses is the UK-based Greenly calculator. This calculator accounts for the number of employees, business travel, number of buildings/industries, office space, company vehicles, etc. Greenly also has a tool that gives advice on which changes could possibly be made for your company after reviewing all of its information.
The 7 Best Carbon Footprint Calculators
There are many great carbon footprint calculators, but there are only some that truly stand out. These were chosen based on factors including reliability, repeatability of results, and user-friendliness.
The WWF Footprint Calculator is one of the more user-friendly carbon footprint calculators out there. Instead of inputting your own numbers, the questionnaire simply asks multiple choice questions for you to answer. This calculator is mostly intended for the use of those who reside in the UK, and it compares your number to the UK government’s target.
The Greenly Calculator is also focused on providing UK-specific measurements. This calculator is very user-friendly, and is meant to be used for businesses and corporations. This calculator takes you step-by-step in filling out all of your information, and recommends where CO2 emissions can be reduced.
CoolClimate Calculators For Individuals And Businesses
The CoolClimate Calculator is one of the calculators intended for US residents. One of the things that makes it unique is its approach to providing a range of settings that allow you to go from ‘simple’ to ‘advanced’ modes. This calculator gives you the best of both worlds as you can quickly input numbers and get an answer in the general area, or use the advanced feature and get a more accurate number. Another great thing about the calculator is they have one for individual use and one for businesses.
The EPA Carbon Calculator is also a great choice for those who reside in the United States. An interesting feature of this calculator is that it calculates the cost of your usage as you input your information. It also asks for the number of people in your house and the zip code. With this information it can then show you a comparison of your usage and spending to those who also have the same amount of people in their households and have the same zip code.
This is another example of a carbon calculator that is simple to use. This tool is probably the best for those who fly frequently. This calculator provides specific measurements pre-built-in that correlate with pre-existing flight routes, which is a huge time-saver. There is also an “Offset” button for after you have calculated your numbers. While there are numerous benefits to carbon offsets, Emission Reversal is another great option for addressing climate change.
This is another calculator that gets very specific, but is still easy to use. The Australian Greenhouse Calculator uniquely works with eleven different lifestyle categories, which adds to its ease of use. Of course, just by looking at the name of it, this calculator is meant for those based in Australia.. Nevertheless, this calculator is highly visual and is a fun and reliable one to use.
The main focus of this carbon calculator is to mitigate and offset CO2 emissions and use its carbon credits to restore wildlife in Australia by planting trees and investing in education. This is a non-profit organization and they are verified Gold Standard projects. Like the CoolClimate Calculator, this calculator has options for using simple or advanced inputs.
Choosing The Best Carbon Footprint Calculator For You
It is not difficult to see that there are many great carbon emissions calculators available to everyone. With all of this information, our selection for the best CO2 emissions calculator are the CoolClimate Calculators for individuals and businesses. Compared to the other calculators, CoolClimate has the most user-friendly features, along with information on how you compare to others, which we find intrinsically motivating. It’s also well-reputed for its accuracy & repeatability – for these reasons, we believe it’s the best general purpose solution for a Carbon Footprint Calculator.
Carbon footprint Calculators are a great first step towards doing your part to help preserve a liveable planet. Once you know your approximate carbon footprint, you can take action to reduce your emissions and also purchase carbon offsets or Emission Reversal certificates.
Emission Reversal credits are also known as carbon dioxide removal credits. At Pull To Refresh, we are working to reverse emissions by custom-building fleets of semi-autonomous vessels that help us gather and sink seaweed, which stores the carbon that each seaweed plant absorbs at the bottom of the ocean where it has at least 100 year staying-power. Sinking seaweed has the same effect as planting trees, but it is a process that will last much longer, and can reach much greater scale, at lower cost, with rapid speed. Use one of the calculators above to figure out your carbon footprint, then reverse your emissions using the link below!