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All about the personal carbon footprint

Depending on their lifestyle, an individual emits a greater or lesser amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Knowing the measurement of your carbon footprint (CO2) allows you to correct certain consumption habits in order to reduce your carbon impact on the environment.

What is the personal carbon footprint?

We speak of a Personal Carbon Footprint for measuring the impact of an individual’s activities on the planet. It thus makes it possible to calculate the carbon footprint of the subject concerned and lead them to reduce or optimize their energy consumption, or even their lifestyle, to minimize their CO2 impact on the environment.
The results of the carbon footprint are expressed in kilograms or tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Indeed, CO2 is the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. The emissions of other gases are therefore converted into carbon equivalent. This allows for a single unit of measurement.

Types of greenhouse gases

There are different types of greenhouse gases. The main GHGs are as follows:

  • Domestic (fuels, heating, electricity consumption, etc.);
  • Domestic production of the country;
  • Imported production.

In other words, the carbon footprint is the analysis of GHGs emitted by our various activities.
The other major subject concerns the methodology for calculating emission factors. Who calculates them and how?

How to calculate your personal carbon footprint?

To calculate your annual personal carbon footprint, some of the data must be taken into account:

  • Transport: daily trips (car, bus, metro, tram or even bicycle) and more exceptional trips, for example by plane or train;
  • House and energy: the type of accommodation (house, apartment), its surface area, the number of inhabitants, the household appliances used, the type of energy, heating, insulation of the accommodation, etc. ;
  • Consumption and lifestyle: diet, electronic devices used, expenditure on clothing and pharmaceutical, hygiene or beauty products, waste recycling, etc.

The CO2 emissions that we emit (i.e. our personal carbon footprint, or our carbon footprint) are always calculated using the following formula:
CO2 emissions = quantity consumed x emission factor.
We therefore collect data that we associate with an emission factor to calculate its carbon equivalent.
To estimate your personal carbon footprint, there are now a large number of free calculators online.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Here is the main advantage of tracking your carbon impact over time: you can easily identify your good (and not so good) actions. This will help you change your consumption pattern, adopt good habits for the environment and gradually reduce your impact.
If we want to act for the climate, we must reduce our carbon footprint through a few simple everyday actions. Some ask for next to nothing, and yet they are helping to switch to a greener lifestyle while saving money.

How to reduce your carbon footprint on the move?

Getting around while supporting the development of less polluting means of transport can therefore be a solution to reducing its impact on the planet:

  • Favor public transport, walking, cycling or even electric bikes for short journeys: in addition to reducing your ecological impact, practicing sport is good for your health. As for public transport, in urban or peri-urban regions, it is often adapted to local needs.
  • Think about carpooling: the more passengers in a car, the lower the amount of CO2 per passenger. Car pooling even reduces the risk of traffic jams during rush hour!
  • Take the train rather than the plane: the carbon footprint of an airplane is very high and amounts to 285 g of CO2eq per kilometer traveled compared to 14 g of CO2eq per km traveled for the train. Note that for destinations connected to high-speed lines, traveling by rail is often almost as fast as taking a plane.

How to reduce your carbon footprint on a daily basis?

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is having comfortable and energy efficient housing. For this, innovations in housing are inevitable measures to reduce your ecological impact on a daily basis:

  • Choose a green energy supplier: an efficient solution for responsible energy consumption.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of your home by carrying out regular energy renovation and thermal insulation work to avoid energy loss and reduce your bills.
  • Equip yourself with low-consumption devices: More expensive to purchase, however, they can significantly reduce your energy consumption, which in the long term comes to offset the starting price.

How to reduce your digital footprint?

Digital represents 4% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. And this figure is likely to double by 2025. Internet in the world today is: 9 billion devices (including 2 billion smartphones and 1 billion computers), 5 to 7 million connected objects, 45 million servers, 800 million network equipment… The bulk of this digital pollution takes place when the equipment is manufactured. To fight against this pollution, we must therefore use less computer objects and make them last longer. Finally, also limit the very high definition for videos because these aggravate digital pollution. They encourage the purchase of larger screens and require more energy to read because they are heavier.


Global warming and everyone’s responsibility in this tragedy obliges everyone to minimize their carbon impact. This does not mean, however, a withdrawal into oneself and one’s borders with the end of all trips which are a vector of peace, quite the contrary. To avoid unpleasant surprises during your travels, consider taking out travel insurance!

 

 

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