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Household CO2 Calculations - A 2020 Update

February 07, 2020

It's that time of year - not tax time,  but time to update your CO2 footprint.  Just like taxes, it may seem like a pain but it's necessary if you want to live carbon neutral and help our planet breathe. 

The good news is that if you have a spreadsheet template from last year, like Nicha and I have, it's pretty easy to update.

Goals for Reduction

Our goals this past year for minimizing our CO2 impact were focused on driving less, using the dryer less, using cold water wash cycles, and keeping the thermostat  down when not at home.  Our 2019 vs. 2018 emissions are shown in the graph below.  Note that in 2018 we used a less detail process to calculate electricity and gas, so 2019's metrics were actual kWh and CF of gas versus $ gas and electric bills.  


We were able to reduce our overall CO2 by about 1 ton, from 20.51 to 19.46, a reduction of 5%.  Air travel is still our biggest contributor along with driving.  Our 2020 goals will be similar to 2019 - driving less, keeping household electric and gas down.  We are looking into electric vehicles as well and may do a trade-in as more of these types of vehicles become available and affordable. 

And travel is one area that we need to reduce in 2020.  Taking one or two less trips is the goal.  We'll target a 10% CO2 reduction for 2020.  

Offsetting our Emissions

We used Cool Effect this year to offset our emissions, and invested in a Colorado based project that captures methane and turns it into energy, check it out here.  It is run by the Ute Native American tribe, and has been verified by Verra, a leading GHG monitoring organization.  

 Take Action

So how long did this process take us?  From gathering information on our flights, to tracking our driving mileage, to evaluating our electric and gas bills, to calculating our waste and recycling, to going online to buy the COOL Effect  offsetting project - the whole process was only a couple of hours. 

All of us can do something to help our planet.  We can't wait for governments or businesses to lead.  There's nothing more important.   Can you help?


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