TY Sustainable Living Projects – Carbon Footprint

TY Sustainable Living Projects – Carbon Footprint

A seriously interesting project by Colm Hulton looking at what a carbon footprint is, where it comes from and ways to reduce yours. This is one of  a selection from a number of fantastic Sustainable Living projects going on in St Mary’s Academy CBS in Carlow. You can see a project on Electricity Consumption by Martin Power & Evan Byrne, and also a project on Gastropods and Biodiversity by Cathal Heaton & Eoin Kirwan.


Carbon footprint


carbon footprint has historically been defined by Championne as “the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person.

However, the total carbon footprint cannot be calculated because the large amount of data required and the fact that carbon dioxide can be produced by natural occurrences. It is for this reason that Wright, Kemp, and Williams, writing in the journal Carbon Management, have suggested a more practicable definition:

“A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxid and methane emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest. Calculated as carbon dioxid using the relevant 100 year global warming

Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services. For simplicity of reporting,  or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted.

Most of the carbon footprint emissions for the average U.S. household come from “indirect” sources, i.e. fuel burned to produce goods far away from the final consumer. These are distinguished from emissions which come from burning fuel directly in one’s car or stove, commonly referred to as “direct” sources of the consumer’s carbon footprint.

The concept name of the carbon footprint originates from ecological footprints, discussion, which was developed by Rees in the 1990s which estimates the number of “earths” that would theoretically be required if everyone on the planet consumed resources at the same level as the person calculating their ecological footprint. However, carbon footprints are much more specific than ecological footprints since they measure direct emissions of gasses that cause climate change into the atmosphere.

Of Energy

The following table compares, from peer-reviewed studies of full life cycle emissions and from various other studies, the carbon footprint of various forms of energy generation: Nuclear, Hydro, Coal, Gas, Solar Cell, Peat and Wind generation technology.

Ways to reduce carbon footprint

The most common way to reduce the carbon footprint of humans is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In manufacturing this can be done by recycling the packing materials, by selling the obsolete inventory of one industry to the industry who is looking to buy unused items at lesser price to become competitive. Nothing should be disposed of into the soil, all the ferrous materials which are prone to degrade or oxidize with time should be sold as early as possible at reduced price.

This can also be done by using reusable items such as thermoses for daily coffee or plastic containers for water and other cold beverages rather than disposable ones. If that option isn’t available, it is best to properly recycle the disposable items after use. When one household recycles at least half of their household waste, they can save 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Another easy option is to drive less. By walking or biking to the destination rather than driving, not only is a person going to save money on gas, but they will be burning less fuel and releasing fewer emissions into the atmosphere. However, if walking is not an option, one can look into carpooling or mass transportation options in their area.

Carbon cycle

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among thebiosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Along with then it rogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused throughout the biosphere

The global carbon budget is the balance of the exchanges (incomes and losses) of carbon between the carbon reservoirs or between one specific loop of the carbon cycle. An examination of the carbon budget of a pool or reservoir can provide information about whether the pool or reservoir is functioning as a source or sink for carbon dioxide.

Carbon diet

carbon diet refers to reducing the impact on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas production.

Individuals and businesses produce carbon dioxide from daily activities such as driving, heating, and the consumption of products and services. To reduce the effects of climate change, we could reduce our carbon output by going on a carbon diet.

There are references to the use of the term carbon diet in several publications.

Colm Hulton