Figure your footprint. Use the links to the calculators below to estimate your household carbon footprint from energy and more.
You will need your energy bills and other information to calculate average monthly energy consumption.
Household Carbon Footprint Calculator by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates your household carbon footprint from your energy bill, your driving habits, and how you handle your household waste.
Home Energy Saver Calculator by the U.S. Department of Energy focuses on your in-home carbon footprint (no transportation). Inputs like insulation r-values and square footage of window surfaces yield a more detailed estimate of energy needs and carbon footprint based on the character of the home you own or might build. The Carbon Footprint Map feature lets you compare results locally or across the country.
CoolClimate Calculator by the University of California at Berkeley looks at energy and carbon footprint for a California household. The calculator provides an estimate of the footprint that incorporates lifestyle choices.
In this example, a Grand Forks, North Dakota, couple lives in a 2-story, 1600-square-foot home with an 800-square-foot basement. Their home is heated with a natural gas furnace. Electricity powers all major and minor appliances—including the water heater and clothes dryer— central air conditioning, electronics, and lighting. Two light-duty vehicles are driven about 18,000 and 10,000 miles a year. Their fuel economies are 25.5 and 22 miles per gallon, respectively.
In the energy consumption graph, transportation makes up the largest share—50% of this household’s energy consumption—and electricity is the smallest at 18%. Natural gas for home heating accounts for 32%. In contrast, the carbon footprint graph1 shows this same family’s electricity use produces a much larger share of its household carbon footprint than its natural gas consumption—the proportion equal to the share from gasoline.
By comparing the two charts, you can see that energy consumption does not directly correspond to carbon footprint. For this household, using less electricity would have a greater effect on carbon footprint than reducing the use of home fuels like natural gas or propane. Decreasing gasoline consumption would have a significant effect on both overall energy use and carbon footprint.
Click on the energy icons above to learn more about the relationship between energy and carbon footprint.
1The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Household Carbon Footprint Calculator was used to determine the carbon footprint for this family.
Reducing your energy consumption reduces energy costs and emissions of CO2 because most of our energy comes from fossil fuels. And, with 350,000 housing units in North Dakota, actions can add up. Reducing energy use by 10% is doable, is affordable, and will reduce carbon emissions.
Start with small actions, see what happens, and decide about next steps.
Clip Title: Cutting Carbon: What Can I Do?
Description: Practical tips to cut energy use, reduce your household carbon footprint, and save money, too!
Electricity provider links to help customize your household energy efficiency and conservation plan:
-Learn about residential programs.
-Learn about energy audits.
-Tour the home energy saver.
-Visit the energy calculator.
-Together We Save features a virtual home tour and a blog that gives ideas for energy savings.
Learn about more actions you can take.
Wise use of energy in the household can reduce part of your carbon footprint, but there’s only so much households can do. As a society, we need to make changes to existing infrastructure, residential and commercial building practices, how consumer products are made, and how we produce and use energy in order to decrease our carbon footprint.
Many actions focused on every sort of energy use will be needed. Learn about the global greenhouse gas situation and options to reduce our carbon footprint.
Clip Title: Cutting Carbon: Society’s Options
Description: Societies make decisions that can reduce carbon output. Energy efficiency and conservation, alternative energy, and carbon capture and storage can make a difference.
Decrease CO2 Emissions from Fossil Fuels at Large Facilities (experts say they aren’t going away anytime soon!)
Electricity generation will continue to be a very important part of energy use around the world. Our region is active in looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity generation.
Capture the CO2. Install CO2 capture technology at energy facilities (such as power plants and refineries) and use geologic CO2 storage. The northern Great Plains region has great CO2 storage potential —and several projects are already happening right here.
Clip Title: Carbon Capture and Storage
Description: A means of managing industrial CO2 that builds on 40 years of experience is described.
Increase efficiency at coal-fired power plants. The northern Great Plains region is a leader in fuel efficiency. Learn more.
Clip Title: Improving Energy Efficiency – Drying Coal
Description: Coal Creek Station uses waste heat to dry coal, which improves the energy efficiency of its electricity generation.
Increase the availability of renewable energy for electricity generation and transportation.
Learn more at these Web sites:
Plants can remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere in a practice called terrestrial CO2 sequestration.
Learn about terrestrial sequestration.
Clip Title: What Is Terrestrial CO2 Sequestration?
Description: Terrestrial sequestration is explained.
Clip Title: Sequestration Potential in the Prairies
Description: Soil has great potential for trapping carbon dioxide. Details of capture and release into the atmosphere are presented.
Watch the documentary Out of the Air – Into the Soil
Learn about CO2 Emission Offsets
Clip Title: Sequestering Carbon in the Prairie
Description: The role of prairies sequestering carbon dioxide.
Clip Title: CO2 Offsets Through Reforestation in Mississippi
Description: Forest management in Mississippi is helping to manage carbon emissions.
Clip Title: Emission Trading
Description: The process of emission trading and its usefulness to the global economy are described.
Developed for the North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy