My previous blog explained that calculation of CO2e is a way to include all greenhouse gases and their global warming potential compared to that of carbon dioxide. What are these other greenhouse gases (abbreviated as GHG)? They include methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride.
The David Suzuki website has a handbook for managing greenhouse gas emissions. The handbook contains very practical ways for measuring and reducing emissions. The first step in managing emissions is to decide which emissions to measure, for example: only those relating to employee transportation, or those related to electricity usage. Then the data from utility bills, accounting receipts, fuel logs, odometer readings, or other sources is collected. Finally, the emissions can be calculated using the data. The general formula for calculating CO2e emissions is: (activity data) x (emission factor) = GHG emissions
The challenge is to find the correct emission factor. I am still researching greenhouse gas emissions calculators and emission factors. However, a simple calculator can be found on the EPA site. You can type in gallons of gas consumed or kilowatt-hours of electricity and the calculator will convert the amount to tons, pounds, or metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. A good place to begin experimenting is the Household Carbon Footprint Calculator. Once you have determined your quantity of GHG emissions then you can consider ways to reduce or offset it.
Let's set a goal to reduce our carbon footprint by Earth Day 2014!