Why are Carbon Emissions Harmful?
The importance of proper carbon regulation for humanity cannot be overstated - carbon dioxide is one of the chief greenhouse gases, which are responsible for the threat of Global Warming.
In simple terms, carbon dioxide (CO2) and the other greenhouse gases are is responsible for the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. This is when heat from the sun is trapped by gases in the atmosphere, causing it to heat the planet rathe than be lost into space.
In itself this is a good thing - the Greenhouse Effect is responsible for keeping Earth within a comfortable temperature range to allow life to flourish. The problems is that increases in CO2 since the industrial revolution are causing more of these gasses to build up, meaning an ever-increasing amount of heat is being trapped by the atmosphere.
This is causing the Earth to heat up at an extraordinary rate, and the effects could be catastrophic unless something is done. The solution is for every single person to make a conscious effort to reduce their carbon ‘footprint’ (a measure of your personal impact on the rise of greenhouse gases).
The Good News
While there is a lot of doom and gloom surrounding climate change, it’s not all bad news. The UK has actually made substantial inroads to improving CO2 emissions: the national carbon footprint of the UK has shrunk by over 21% since 2007! There is still a long way to go, and everyone needs to do more, but at least progress is being made.
This is easier said than done: CO2 is a byproduct of everything from transport, to manufacturing, to everyday use of appliances. Therefore in order to reduce your footprint, you will have to make changes in all areas of your life.
The UK carbon footprint has dropped by over 21% since 2007.
Why Should You Care?
The problem of global warming and climate change is so enormous it can be difficult to fully grasp the impact of what is at stake, and why it is something you should work towards personally. While it is true that the biggest changes need to be made by countries and corporations, that in no way means the individual can’t make a difference. Even one person reducing the meat from their diet or choosing not to drive to work can seriously effect their CO2 creation over a period of years, not to mention you will inspire more people to make changes to help the planet!
How Can I Reduce my Carbon Footprint?
Burning fossil fuels account for the largest part of your carbon footprint - this comes as a result of driving in cars, taking flights and heating your home in the winter. For many people, reducing these factors can be challenging, especially if you have a long commute.
However secondary (or ‘indirect’) use involves the CO2 created when manufacturing things we buy or use, such as kitchen appliances, phones and even clothes. We ‘inherit’ this carbon by buying and using these products, meaning a key component of improving your carbon footprint is being more mindful of the goods/service you buy and use.
Top 5 Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
1. Drive an electric/hybrid car, or cycle to work
2. Travel using train rather than flying
3. Replace your lightbulbs with efficient LED bulbs
4. Make sure your house is properly insulated, and run the heating less
5. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet
There are many guides for reducing your carbon footprint on the web (This guide by The Guardian is a good starting point), and the Kagoo Carbon Calculator can help in one area - improving the energy use of your household, appliance by appliance.
How Can The Kagoo Carbon Calculator Help You?
Kagoo has developed a tool to allow you to calculate the carbon emissions for any white good or electrical product on the market. Simply put in the name of the appliance, and our system will do the rest!
We display the amount of CO2 that running the appliance will generate over its entire lifetime, based on average daily use (e.g - 6 hours a day for TVs, 24 hours a day for fridges).
Viewing Water Usage
If the appliances uses water, we also provide an estimate as to how much water the product will use over it’s lifetime. While not related to carbon, saving water will help improve the health of the planet, so is no bad thing!
Moreover, we provide an estimate of how many trees you would need to plant to match the amount of CO2 being generated by your appliance - along with links to charities to make that happen! We call this process ‘carbon offsetting’.
Is it Better to Offset or Replace?
Offsetting carbon is the act of putting money, time or action towards environmental projects in order to make up for your carbon use in other areas of life.
This involves projects such as planting trees or helping build wind farms - acts that reduce global CO2 emissions and help improve the overall health of the planet. Examples can be found at Carbonfootprint.com - Carbon Offset Projects.
The Mulan Wind Farm in northern China is used to offset over 50,000 tonnes of CO2
Alternatively, you can calculate your carbon usage using our calculator and donate directly to the World Land TrustIndividual - World Land Trust. They will put your donation towards a balanced collection of schemes across the globe.
However all these projects only serve to try and fix damage that has already been done - while offsetting is a good option, it is far better to tackle the root of the problem. This means when you next upgrade your appliances, choosing a product which generates far less CO2 while in use.
To this end, the Kagoo Carbon Calculator will also suggest alternative appliances that have similar functions, but are far better for the environment. So when you’re shopping for a new oven or dishwasher, take a look at our tool to see how you could help the planet!
As an added bonus, more eco-friendly appliances usually have lower running costs, so you’ll be saving yourself money as well - good news all around!
Why create the Carbon Calculator?
Kagoo is a product comparisons website for electrical goods. As such we are collecting huge amounts of data about all our products, including energy usage data. Given the increasing urgency with which we all must address excessive carbon emissions, we thought it might be interesting as a side project to calculate the carbon emissions for the products that we list and allow people to visualise how much carbon their household items are generating.
Where does the data for the carbon emissions come from? Are you confident of the accuracy?
We source the carbon emissions data directly from the product manufacturers, therefore we can not comment on the degree of internal validation they have undertaken in producing this information. However in the main we are dealing with large, highly reputable organisations such as Samsung and Bosch, so there will be a high level of accuracy.
Is there any cost to use the Carbon Calculator?
There is absolutely no charge for anyone to use the calculator, either for business or personal use.
How does Kagoo profit from the Carbon Calculator?
Kagoo receives no revenue from the carbon emissions calculator, and there are no adverts or commercial links. We feel we have a duty to help with the current climate emergency as best we can, and this is our small contribution.
What happens to data collected from use of the Calculator?