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Posts Tagged ‘carbon footprint’

What’s your carbon Handprint?

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on July 5th, 2013

Source: FastCo.Exist

Screenshot from the Handprinter video.

From the article ‘An App That Measures Your Positive Impact on The Planet‘ by Ben Schiller:

Greg Norris has worked in the field of lifecycle assessments–what you and I know as “footprints”–for many years. And, not long ago, he started to feel depressed about it. Everything seemed to be in a negative direction, impact-wise. “From the footprint perspective, all you see is bad news,” he says. “I ended up feeling like the Earth would be better off without me.”

So, Norris came up with what he calls “the mirror image of footprints”. Handprints are the positive things we do to reduce damage we inevitably cause from driving, buying stuff, and so on. It’s a form of offsetting. But instead of paying someone to plant a tree in Malawi, you have to take care of the corresponding action yourself. “I asked myself: How can I make it possible that there would be less pollution because of me? The answer is to stimulate change for the better,” he says.

You can create a handprint in three ways. First, you simply cut your footprint: say, by cycling to work, rather than driving. Second, you can champion an action suggested on the platform (carpooling, say). Or, third, you can come up with a completely new idea. In each case, Handprinter calculates the benefit and your part in bringing it about. If, for example, you share a link and someone clicks on it, you get credited with that action. Everything is subtracted from your footprint, which you calculate at the beginning. […]

Norris sees the platform as a way of inspiring positive behavior. If he can get enough people using the app, he hopes to create a virtuous circle of people proposing and rewarding action. As an example, he points to an initiative in Maine that Handprinter has been involved with. Owens Corning has donated 300 water heater blankets, which schools are giving away to residents in return for nine months’ worth of energy savings. The schools will spend the money on new blankets, setting up a positive cycle. (Students can follow the ripple effects on the Handprinter app). […]

>>> You can read the original article here.
>>> You can learn more about Handprinter on their website or try the beta version of the app.

ReFit West: Retrofitting Existing Homes Update

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 21st, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future

Image from the Refit West Update

Forum for the Future has published a new guide on retrofitting owner-occupied homes, intended to inform the development of a nationally viable scheme. Refit West: Update from the front line – real homeowner retrofit journeys and barriers the Green Deal must overcome gives policy makers, key energy sector players, and domestic carbon reduction professionals, valuable results from a live pilot retrofitting scheme.

The report provides a number of key insights into the homeowner experience and outlines the information required at each stage of the retrofitting journey. Based on the lessons learnt from a Bristol-based pilot project, we have been working with actual homeowners as they carried out energy efficiency works to their homes. It presents a number of recommendations that will need to be in place to ensure successful take up of the Green Deal.

We believe that the key to developing a nationally viable retrofitting scheme lies in empowering and supporting individuals as they make decisions and commission works to their homes. A flexible and people-centred approach, delivering a positive experience for early adopters and recognising and valuing the work carried out, is essential for any larger retrofitting programme to succeed.

Scaling up any retrofitting scheme will need to take account of three key elements: providing appropriate financial incentives to refit houses; creating demand from homeowners; and ensuring there is a workforce with the skills to carry it out.

Download the report ‘Update from the front line: real homeowner retrofit journeys and barrier to Green Deal must overcome’ or visit the Refit West Project site.

How to Gauge a City’s Carbon Footprint: Linking Emissions to Affluence

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 12th, 2011

Source: Environmental Research Web

Image: mikecogh via flickr CC

From “Carbon emissions ‘unrelated to city density’” by Nadya Anscombe:
- When analysing the carbon footprint of a city, most research studies look at the emissions generated by the inhabitants of that city. Typically they come to the conclusion that denser cities produce less carbon emissions on a per capita basis.But Jukka Heinonen and his colleague Seppo Junnila from Aalto University, Finland, have a different way of examining this issue. They believe that emissions should not be allocated to where they are produced, but to where they are consumed.

“For example, if a television is made in a big factory in the countryside, but bought by someone living in a city, the carbon emission generated from the production of that television should be allocated to the consumer, not the factory,” Heinonen told environmentalresearchweb. “When you look at carbon consumption in this way it becomes almost irrelevant where someone lives and how dense the city is in which they live.”

Heinonen and Junnila studied the two largest metropolitan areas in Finland: Helsinki and its two surrounding cities Espoo and Vantaa; and the important inland city of Tampere, together with the seven neighbouring semi-urban cities. The seven cities around Tampere were allocated into two groups: rural cities (RTC) and urban cities (UCT).  The pair found that carbon consumption was directly linked to income and was not necessarily related to the density of the city. “Espoo is a less dense city than Helsinki, but carbon consumption per capita is higher in Espoo than in Helsinki because Espoo is a more affluent city,” said Heinonen.

To come to these conclusions, the researchers used a hybrid life cycle analysis (LCA) approach. This combines the principles of an input–output LCA – where emissions are calculated based on monetary transactions – and a process LCA, where emissions are assessed based on the energy and mass flows in the main production and supply chain processes.  Heinonen and Junnila looked at 10 consumption areas: heat and electricity; building and property; maintenance and operation; private transport; public transportation; consumer goods; leisure goods; leisure services; travelling abroad; and health, nursing and training services.
“We found that the biggest impacts on a consumer’s carbon footprint are heat and electricity; the construction and maintenance of buildings; and private transport,” said Heinonen. “Tampere is considerably more dense than the urban and rural cities surrounding it, but we found a negligible difference in carbon consumption between these three metropolitan areas.”  The researchers believe that their study is a useful model for analysing the emissions of different urban structures that could be used in urban development when low-carbon solutions are sought. They have published their research in Environmental Research Letters (ERL).

This article by Nadya Anscombe for Environmental Research Web.

New approaches: travel agent shifts from offsetting to reduction

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on October 23rd, 2009

Source: The Ecologist
Joanne Probyn_flickr_att_share
Image: Joanne Probyn via flickr CC

One of the first travel companies to offer carbon offsetting to customers has decided to remove the facility from their website., which introduced an offsetting option in 2002, said the travel industry’s priority must be to ‘reduce carbon emissions, rather than offset’.   ‘Too often offsets are being used by the tourism industry in developed countries to justify growth plans on the basis that money will be donated to projects in developing countries,’ said managing director Justin Francis. ‘Global reduction targets will not be met this way,’ he added. Mr Francis said his company was now advising its customers to fly less, travel by train and take holidays closer to home. ‘We will continue to offer a more responsible choice of overseas holiday so that when tourists do fly they can ‘make their holiday count’ by choosing a more responsible holiday,’ he said. It is not clear whether other travel agents will follow’s lead.

Read the full article,  “Eco travel agent ditches carbon offsetting” on The Ecologist website.

City slickers have a lower footprint

Posted in Research by fedwards on April 3rd, 2009

According to a new study released by the International Institute for Environment and Development, urban dwellers have a lower carbon footprint than the national average. “Many cities have surprisingly low per capita emissions but what is clear is that most emissions come from the world’s wealthier nations,” says David Dodman, author of the study that will be published in the April edition of Environment and Urbanization. “The real climate-change culprits are not the cities themselves but the high consumption lifestyles of people living across these wealthy countries. To read more about this report visit the IIED website here.