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Carbon footprint

Concept, methodology and Calculation.

Fabil .T
Varun .Y.S (MT15CTM018)

we leave a 'Footprint'. as the very act of breathing results in a Footprint. in effect. is a measure of the total quantity of gaseous emissions of Greenhouse Gases (gases that cause an undesirable and disproportionate heating-up of the earth's atmosphere) emitted by an individual in one year. 'Carbon Footprint'. by far. one's total wood-consumption during their lifetime. the more products and services we consume. or indirectly (through consumption of products and services that have resulted in such emissions in the manufacturing process). Nitrous Oxide. directly (such as by burning fuel). Now. greater is the demand that is imposed on our environment. there are various 'Footprints' that one can calculate by examining the details of one's life . fuel. unavoidable. . in other words. of course. "What is my Plastic Footprint?" etc. and Methane.questions such as these address different aspects of one's life . Enough weight exerted by the collective might of all earth's inhabitants will lead to a rampant stampede that will decimate the very 'life' from underneath our feet. the heavier the weight of our 'Footprint'. the most critical 'Footprint' for the specific environmental circumstances we live in and have created for ourselves. we walk one step across that floor. In doing so. By converting Nitrous Oxide and Methane . food. thus. we impress the full weight of our existence on it."What is my Water Footprint?". the greater its size and one's total water consumption during their lifetime. That Footprint. This is because it is a direct indicator of a human's impact on Global Warming: the most daunting environmental issue confronting us. "What is my Wood Footprint?". 'Carbon Footprint' therefore is just ONE of the many Footprints that can be calculated. There are three main gases that are classified as 'Greenhouse Gases': Carbon Dioxide. tramples upon the life-giving resources and life forms beneath it.. it is. But in effect. etc. electronics etc. and our acts of consumption as a journey on foot across it.2 Carbon footprint WHAT IS A 'CARBON FOOTPRINT'? Imagine the environment as a vast forest floor. Some of the trampling is. However.electricity. As each one of us consumes anything .

The increasing worldwide interest in the causes and consequences of climate change. your 'Carbon Footprint' value is the number of tonnes (1 tonne is a 1000 kilograms) of Carbon Dioxide equivalents you have generated in one year. signed in December 1997 and entered into force in 2005. CF measures the emission of gases that contribute to heating the planet in carbon dioxide (CO2)-equivalents per unit of time or product.2% in 2012 compared to the emission levels of 1990.3 Carbon footprint into equivalent quantities of Carbon Dioxide. The IPCC released its first assessment report in 1990. then. This report played an important role in the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Efforts under the UNFCCC led to the Kyoto Protocol (UN. The overall goal was a collective reduction of GHG emissions by 5. The IPCC was the first worldwide effort to create awareness of global warming and to feed scientific insights on climate change to governments. The carbon footprint concepts were introduced about a decade ago. an international environmental treaty with the goal of stabilizing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Concern about climate change started with the scientific recognition of the relationship between CO2 emissions and global warming. . In a nutshell. 1998). resulted in the formation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. with specific reduction targets by country. an international agreement to cut GHG emissions. one can arrive at a total amount of 'Carbon Dioxide Equivalents' produced per year. and in exploring ways to respond.

It's well known that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse is essentially an issue of HUMAN SURVIVAL. This temperature rise is projected to precipitate many alarming impacts on the environment. for many millions of years with or without humans on the planet. the time period over which the consequences will acquire disastrous proportions is much more immediate . And the average per capita footprint for the entire world in 2005 was estimated to be 3. and will continue to exist. water pollution. but just what does it mean.9 tons of CO2e/year.the next 50 years. We as a species will not be able to adapt to the metamorphosis we are creating . Now just reimagine that ocean as being one that we find ourselves surrounded by. We will visualize that it is constantly rising towards a state where we are at a risk of drowning in our own self-created ocean.4 Carbon footprint HOW LARGE IS THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF AN AVERAGE INDIAN? Based on National GHG Emissions Inventory Data for 2005 obtained from the following sources and Population of India in 2005. Let's however be clear. and what are the possible consequences of global warming? . the average per capita footprint for an Indian Citizen in 2005 was estimated to be 1.we have to instead adapt our actions so that the imminent alteration does not occur.. however. We heard the expression "every drop counts in an ocean". GLOBAL WARMING! Global Warming is a burning issue because it threatens the existence of human civilization as we know it today. destruction of animal habitats etc. We believe this is primarily not an 'Environmental' or a 'Save the Planet' issue . it's NOT ABOUT SAVING THE PLANET . Most critically. due to which suitability for human existence will be greatly depleted. The average temperature on Earth is exhibiting an unprecedented rise due to human-generated emissions of greenhouse gases. But this time it's different. and every Carbon Footprint of each human adds to that ocean's level. survive.6 tons of CO2e/year.the earth has existed. unlike other 'environmental issues' such as deteriorating air quality. Only those species that are able to adapt to their environment. We have adapted to minor changes in the environment during our history.

This means that the surface temperature of the Earth increases by 0.2°C over the last century. which would result from melting of the ice caps Impacts on agriculture .Global warming could have major effects on agricultural productivity Reduction of the ozone layer .carbon emissions add to the concentration. instead of the actual value of about 15°C. meaning that less radiation escapes. and more frequent and stronger storms Spread of diseases .5 Carbon footprint Radiation from the Sun heats Earth's atmosphere. and could have disastrous consequences. which could result in depletion of the ozone layer Increased extreme weather . giving chemical reactions a platform in the atmosphere. as previously mentioned. These might include: Sea level rise .Warming would result in increased high cloud cover in winter. the amount of radiation which escapes depends on the concentration of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere . The incoming radiation can easily pass through the outer atmosphere in order to reach the Earth. The main worry is that.Diseases would be able to spread to areas which were previously too cold for them to survive in .A warmer climate could change the weather systems of the earth. methane etc) present.densely settled coastal plains would become uninhabitable with just a small rise in sea level. meaning there would be more droughts and floods. This may not sound like much. but the warming will increase with time. However. Exactly how much of the radiation escapes the atmosphere depends on the concentration of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide. making life on Earth possible. but much of it cannot escape as the atmosphere acts as a one way valve. the temperature of the surface of the Earth would be -18°C. the so-called greenhouse effect is not a bad thing as such .6°C ± 0. oceans and land.without it.

During winter conditions a high thermal mass may be utilized to store heat from floor heating systems releasing it slowly and homogeneously over a period of time. The heat is partly solar radiation through the windows but also the free heat gains from persons. Furthermore. etc. windows. with the net effect of most organisms moving towards the North and South Poles As you can see. walls. high thermal mass reduces the need for cooling. Even a small reduction in household emissions could help to alleviate the problems future generations are likely to face. During summer conditions concrete stores the heat during mid day releasing it in the night time. Hence. For this reason alone it makes good sense to design the building with minimum energy consumption in mind. Since the service life is often 50-70 years or even more the annual energy consumption has very large impact on the total carbon footprint of a building. The designers have to meet these specifications in the design phase before the building is constructed in order to obtain a building permit.As with the diseases. CALCULATE CARBON FOOTPRINT. The effect is mainly governed by the . Heating and ventilation and cooling of buildings are responsible for about 80 % of the total energy consumption including the embodied energy corresponding with the production of the building. Concrete and other heavy materials have a series of positive impacts on the energy consumption of buildings due to its high thermal mass. The operation of buildings during their service life is the main contributor to the CO2 balance over its full life cycle. the range of plants and animals would change. The authorities regulate the criteria to the building energy performance mainly through specifications on the maximum heat loss coefficient for floors. The thermal mass of such materials is influencing the daily temperature fluctuations within the building so that the indoor temperature is better kept within the thermal comfort zone. Thermal mass effect.6 Carbon footprint Ecosystem change .. This is especially a benefit to office buildings where working efficiency is influenced by the temperature level during the day time. the effects of carbon dioxide emissions could be extremely far reaching and cause major problems. over half of the operation energy is used for heating of building space. Thus. electrical equipment and so forth. it is of paramount importance that the designers have the proper calculation tools and knowledge in order to design the building in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

Step 2 – Calculation Methodology. the outside material design of the building envelope is not the most important aspect to consider. Step 1. It is a necessity that the material and the air are in direct contact and therefore lowered ceilings. Therefore. Diesel and Petrol for our vehicles and LPG for cooking in our kitchen.Final Carbon footprint should be in tons of CO2 (tCO2. Petrol. Following methodology helps you to calculate your carbon footprint resulting from the use of Electricity. Multiply number of cylinders used in a year by 33 and add the resulted value in the calculation. LPG: Generally one LPG cylinder has around 33 kg of liquefied petroleum gas. Find number of power units (In India. Take monthly consumed units and then multiply them by 12 (No of months in a year). Electricity: Collect data of annual electricity bills. one unit = 1KWh of electricity) consumed from the monthly electricity bills issues by State Electricity Board/ Distribution/Collection companies. All of the energy we use is derived from these fossil fuels which are GHG intensive.7 Carbon footprint materials in contact with the indoor air. Electricity: Input value (in KWh/Yr) X 0. METHODOLOGY .Data collection.).82 (Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2) LPG: Input Value (In Kg/Yr) X 2. Our day to day activities are moreover dependent on electricity which is mostly coming from coal based power plants. furniture along the walls and carpets and flooring on top of concrete slabs have great impact on the thermal mass effect which again makes it a complex matter to include in this type of calculations.983 (Emission Factor) = Output value in (Kg of CO2) Carbon Footprint: Add (1+2) = Output value in (Kg of CO2) Divide final value (no 3) with 1000 so that you get total carbon footprint in ton of CO2. Diesel and LPG.

Default oxidation factor in each of the fuel came from the table 1. 2. International Organization for Standardization. as follows. Chapter 1. It is important that For a footprint to be repeatable and accurate there must be a consistency. Commonly used methodologies are: 1. as many individuals help collectively the footprint calculation and the offsetting will become that much easy. GHG Protocol which provides detailed guidance on emissions reporting. 4. CO2 emissions = Quantity of fuel X COEF (CO2 emission from fossil fuel combusted (mass or coefficient of fuel in combustion (tCO2) volume unit) tCO2/mass or volume unit) The CO2 emission coefficient (COEF) can be calculated using one of the following two Options.8 Carbon footprint Clearly defined methodologies are followed in the calculation of carbon footprint. also provides guidance on footprint calculation and emissions reporting. 5. 3. Default net calorific value in each of the fuel came from the table 1. If the quantity of fuel combusted is in mass unit. Volume 2 of IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories 2006. Volume 2 of IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories 2006. Chapter 1. depending on the availability of data on the type of fossil fuel as follows: 1.3. COEF = Weighted average mass X Weighted average density X fraction of carbon in type of type of fuel (Mass of fuel (tC/mass unit of unit/volume unit of the 44/12 . Another Method CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion are calculated based on the quantity of fuels combusted and the CO2 emission coefficient of those fuels. The CO2 emission coefficient COEF is calculated based on the chemical composition of the fossil fuel using the following approach. In a large industry it is important. COEF = Weighted average mass fraction of X 44/12 carbon in type of fuel (tC/mass unit of the fuel) If the quantity of fuel combusted is in a volume unit. ISO 140645. Chapter 1. Default carbon content in each of the fuel came from the table 1.2. Volume 2 of IPCC Guidelines for National GHG Inventories 2006.4.

Sources: UNFCCC CDM website.75. Use any one relevant to the requirement. Details Electricity consumed = Rs. they contribute to the emission of CO 2 in the production in the case of electricity and direct emission in the case of LPG. Food is prepared by using electricity and LPG.260 kwh/year LPG gas consumed = 33 kg cylinder 4-5 nos. you can calculate CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. daily = (33x5x365) + (19x6x365) . as follows.Subasish. The CO2 emission coefficient COEF is calculated based on net calorific value and CO2 emission factor of the type of fuel. The details are collected from the mess manager Mr. daily 19 kg cylinder 5-6 nos. GHG Protocol and IPCC CARBON FOOTPRINT OF MEGA MESS IN OUR COLLEGE We calculated the carbon emission from the mega mess building by considering the post occupied condition use of the building ie.9 Carbon footprint the fuel) fuel) 2.70.500 students. The operation of buildings during their service life is the main contributor to the CO2 balance over its full life cycle. Comparing to the amount of LPG and electricity used the emission from the occupants are smaller. 7355 kwh units/month = 88. ventilation and cooling of buildings are responsible for most of the total energy consumption and also the mess is used for serving food for 1. during the functioning of the building. COEF = Weighted average net calorific X Weighted average value(NCV) of the fuel (In CO2 emission factor of the GJ/mass or volume unit) type of fuel (In tCO2/GJ) By using both these calculation methodologies.000 .000 = approx. lighting. Heating.

Since the energy consumption for building operation is much higher than the embodied energy in the building materials . CUT THE CARBON Urban lifestyles have a huge impact on the environment. Thus.8 tons of CO2 every year. Conclusion The mega mess building emits 378. lighting.983 (Emission Factor) = 303774(Kg ofCO2)…………. every action has a carbon footprint associated with it. Everything we do requires energy which usually comes from combustion of fossil fuels-ranging from taking a flight to just having a cup of coffee. cooling etc. because they are more concerned about carbon emission than us.10 Carbon footprint = 101835 kg = 156429 liter (1 liter LPG = 0.  The high thermal mass of concrete should be utilized to improve the energy performance of buildings. and this is from the electricity and LPG they use for cooking.2 Carbon Footprint: (1+2) = 376147(Kg of CO2) = 376147/1000 t CO2 = 376 tons of CO2 (t CO2 ) There are many online carbon footprint calculators also available but most of them are for the use of other countries . Our lifestyles have large carbon footprints which affect the climate adversely.651 kg) In the mess they uses 19 kg and 33 kg commercial cylinders Calculations Electricity: 88260 KWh/Yr X 0.82 (Emission Factor) = 72373 (Kg of CO2)……1 LPG: 101835 Kg/Yr X 2.

assuming that decreased energy use per unit of good or service produced automatically translates into reduced GHG emissions. Even a small annual difference will add up to a significant amount over a service life of say 50 years. This reduces the need for land filling and the need for natural aggregates.  After ended service life concrete should be demolished and crushed down to small fractions suitable for applications in road construction. CO2 emissions coming from demolishing and crushing of concrete are balanced out by the CO2 uptake from the carbonation process in the concrete rubble. A related term is energy efficiency. There is also the recognition that we need to shift from carbon-intensive forms of energy like coal and oil to less carbon-intensive forms like gas or. The relatively large contribution of meat and dairy consumption to humanity’s CF –it is estimated that the livestock sector is responsible for 18% of anthropogenic GHG emissions – . always per unit of production. REDUCTION OF FOOTPRINTS BY INCREASING CARBON EFFICIENCY Carbon efficiency is a popular term referring to the CF per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in an economy. Companies and governments usually translate the need for CF reduction into a need to increase energy efficiency in industry.  Heavy building materials with high thermal mass mean less annual energy consumption for heating/cooling/ventilation which again means less carbon emissions. transportation and households. solar. hydro or bioenergy. Existing production and consumption patterns carry an inherent dependence on energy that cannot be addressed by increasing efficiencies alone. even better. or more specifically to the CF of specific sectors or activities. REDUCTION OF FOOTPRINT BY CHANGING PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION PATTERNS It is acknowledged that increasing efficiencies can be only part of the solution for reducing carbon footprint.11 Carbon footprint the service life period is very important to include when different structural designs are compared. back-filling material. renewable forms of energy like wind. etc. Consumption patterns need attention as well.

OFFSETTING. A typical example of the voluntary market can be found in the air transport sector: passengers can offset the emissions related to their flight by purchasing reduction credits elsewhere. A reconsideration of production and consumption patterns is much more difficult than implementing measures to increase efficiencies because structural changes affect all sorts of vested interests. This mechanism was created as a result of a market logic. while. a certain emission reduction always has the same effect. The practice of carbon offsetting was developed from the flexible mechanism included in the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrial countries to fulfil their obligations to reduce GHG emissions by purchasing emission reductions created by projects elsewhere. Both producers and consumers generally want to increase the levels of production and consumption. NEUTRALITY AND TRADING The idea behind carbon offsetting is that one unit of CO 2-equivalent emitted into the atmosphere in one place from one activity has exactly the same contribution to climate change as another unit emitted elsewhere by another activity. at least in the short term. As a result. This explains why most of the attention of footprint reduction goes to efficiency and not to total production and consumption volumes. there is the underlying idea that one can better reduce an emission elsewhere – if it is easier or cheaper – than reduce one’s own emission. no matter how or where it is done. . efficiency gains benefit all parties. Furthermore. Another example is offsetting emissions of energy use by buying carbon credits that are generated by renewable energy or forest planting projects.12 Carbon footprint and can be reduced only if people reverse the current trend towards eating more meat and dairy. where demand and supply for reductions are created. priced and exchanged internationally and developed further with a parallel voluntary market. and efficiency gains can be instrumental in that.