What are the facts?
Does everyone agree about Carbon emissions?
- To calculate your Carbon footprint you have to know how much energy you are using and then convert that into the equivalent weight in Carbon Dioxide using a conversion figure.
For example 1 kWh of electricity is multiplied by a conversion figure of 0.52, indicating that 0.52kg of carbon dioxide is produced when that amount of electricity is generated.
In a week an average house uses about 75 kWh of electricity. If you use a conversion figure of 0.52, its carbon footprint is 75 x 0.52 = 39kg Carbon Dioxide.
- However, what is the "correct" conversion figure? Different "carbon calculators" vary considerably in their conversion figures, giving very different results when trying to work out your carbon footprint.
- Use the figures below to do some simple calculations to compare conversion figures for electricity production from three different sources.
- Your calculation is based on an average house using 3880 kWh electricity per year.
- To calculate, multiply this figure with the conversion factor.
Carbon Dioxide conversion figures for mains (grid) electricity:
Conversion factor kg CO2
CO2 kg year (based on 3880 kWh per year use)
Grid Electricity from gas
Grid Electricity from coal
DEFRA is the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the UK.
CDIAC is the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center. USA Dept. of Energy
- What is the % difference between the highest and lowest estimate?
- Do you think that these differences are significant?
- Discuss your ideas on why they might be so different with a classmate
Now travel on to the next station: MY EMISSIONS where you will find your data for your own personal emissions.