standard Climate change mitigation begins with every household

Anyone reading this likely knows (or should know) that reducing global CO2 emissions can start at the household level.  There are a number of useful guides out there for monitoring emissions of households.  For the US, the Cool Climate Network based at UC Berkeley is definitely worth a look.  Here’s the average carbon footprint they came up with for a typical US household based on five different kinds of energy consumption:

Fuel for motor vehicles consists of over half the emissions for transportation and not surprisingly electricity is the largest CO2 contributor from housing.  Interestingly, health care services contribute over two megatons of CO2 per year and the consumption of meat alone also adds over two megatons.  But how you define ‘Typical US Household’ is unclear, so is probably best to use this as a guide since individual circumstances will likely vary.  Their carbon footprint calculator is definitely a handy tool though.

For calculating individual household emissions in any part of the world check out this CO2 emissions calculator:  It calculates your home, transport and other sources of emissions.   Until you have a smart meter installed in your home, for the sake of helping to mitigate future climate disaster these calculators seem like a good place to start.  In the UK, smart meters are being installed for free in every household; the full roll-out will begin in 2012.  But in order for smart meters to really work properly in reducing energy demand and CO2 emissions, people need to incorporate new habits into their daily use of energy, as the technology in itself will not curb emissions, but simply allow people to monitor their own.

Further Reading

SMART 2020 Report: Smart Grids Can Cut CO2 Emissions by 15 Percent. Treehugger

Homes to get free energy monitors. BBC

Quantifying Carbon Footprint Reduction Opportunities for U.S. Households and Communities. Environmental Science and Technology

Eating less meat could cut climate costs. New Scientist

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