The background of this project is a need for having an accurate personal carbon footprint calculator. The current calculators available for the public are somewhat limited and based on certain assumptions. Basically these calculators stress that most of the personal carbon footprint is due to meat consumption and travelling, which is a very simplified way to view the matter. This simplified view is the reason behind this project. The goal is to make a calculation model for personal carbon footprint from an engineer's perspective that takes into account all the different factors and their variables that affect one’s carbon footprint. These factors include for example the different heating systems of different houses and apartments and the user's usage of energy. The aim is that this calculation model is used to make a working calculator that can express the carbon footprint in a format where it can be compared to the Finnish average. In the best case scenario, the calculator raises awareness and provides relevant information about one’s personal carbon footprint and provides possible changes and actions to decrease it.
The expected output of the project is an easy-to-use calculation model of the personal carbon footprint of a Finnish citizen. The model will be provided in as a web application, which asks the user basic questions of his or her consumption habits. The model will calculate the emissions of electricity, heating, food, travelling, water usage, waste handling, consumables, leisure and summer cottages. User input is fed in the model and the web application calculates the total amount and division of different emission sources. The most important output is to represent a comparison of the user’s emissions to a typical Finnish citizen or to a municipal average and give concrete suggestions for lowering the emissions. The representation of the results will give the user general knowledge on the most significant emission sources in his or her life and maybe helps to understand how much effort some specific change would need. The application suggests changes in lifestyle according to the results and gives examples of corresponding impact to the operation.
The calculator was implemented in Google Apps Script, which is a Web Application platform for Google Apps. User input is fed from the online interface to the backend model. Once the results are calculated, they are saved to Google Sheets for generating the averages. Results are displayed in a bar chart and the user gets some suggestions for change. The user is asked simple questions in eight categories. In the beginning of the quiz, the users are asked how they would estimate their emissions. This helps the users stick to reading the results and wonder, where the pot cumulates from.
The calculator is embedded below and in erroneous behaviour it can be accessed behind the button link. Try it out yourself!
The project is documented in Github: https://github.com/juliusmaylett/CO2calc if you want do duplicate it. Using clasp and doing the programming in VS Code instead of Google Apps Script is advised for a better user experience.
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