Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Carbon Footprint


The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).

In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO2 is the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide). When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal, then you also generate CO2. Even if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO2.

Trees absorb Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere as part of their photosynthetic processes. It is the primary means of generating nutrition for its growth and repair activities. It is therefore acceptable to state that the quantity of carbon dioxide so absorbed is a direct function of the growth stage (young, mature or old tree), the specific species of the tree, the quantity of foliage (leaves), size of tree etc.

Given this context, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as part of its ‘Billion Tree Campaign’ presents the following indicative figures: an average tree absorbs 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of CO2 and emits enough oxygen for a family of four for a year. 

Assuming an average life-span of 20 years for a tree (accounting for tree-planting mortality rates etc.), no2co2 uses a figure of 240 kgs (or approximately 0.25 tons) of CO2 Equivalents (CO2e) as the Carbon Absorption capacity of a tree over its lifetime. Thus, a Carbon Footprint of 1 ton of CO2e can be thought of as requiring the planting of approximately 4 trees to ‘Neutralise’ its impact. 

Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by your activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year.

fuel typeunitCO2 emitted per unit
Petrol1 gallon (UK)10.4 kg
Petrol1 liter2.3 kg
Gasoline 1 gallon (USA)8.7 kg
Gasoline 1 liter2.3 kg
Diesel1 gallon (UK)12.2 kg
Diesel 1 gallon (USA)9.95 kg 
Diesel1 liter2.7 kg
Oil (heating)1 gallon (UK)13.6 kg
Oil (heating) 1 gallon (USA)11.26 kg 
Oil (heating)1 liter3 kg
Each of the following activities add 1 kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint:
  • Travel by public transportation (train or bus) a distance of 10 to 12 km (6.5 to 7 miles)
  • Drive with your car a distance of 6 km or 3.75 miles (assuming 7.3 litres petrol per 100 km or 39 mpg)
  • Fly with a plane a distance of 2.2 km or 1.375 miles.
  • Operate your computer for 32 hours (60 Watt consumption assumed)
  • Production of 5 plastic bags
  • Production of 2 plastic bottles

Calculating Carbon Footprints

To remain as accessible as possible, most carbon calculators ask very simple questions about consumption. To determine the amount of CO2 produced by home electricity, the calculator divides the estimated or exact usage by the price of power in the area. The calculator then multiplies this number by the state's emissions factor, a figure that relates to the type of energy the state uses. Calculators also factor in natural gas, heating oil and propane use. Carbon footprints also include the CO2 produced by transportation. Most people don't know their annual fuel usage, so calculators usually ask for an estimated annual mileage and the car's make, model and year. After compiling all the figures, the calculator produces a total CO2 output in tons -- a carbon footprint.

What are carbon credits?

One carbon credit is equivalent to one tonne of CO2 emissions. Credits can be sold in the international market at the prevailing prices via certain credit exchanges. Formalised in the Kyoto Protocol, carbon credits help developing/ underdeveloped countries as they traditionally have lower per-capita carbon emissions than developed countries and will need to emit CO2 owing to increasing industrial growth. At this point though, these countries can sell their carbon credits to other countries and reap the economic benefits of not polluting the planet.
A carbon credit (often called a carbon offset) is a financial instrument that represents a tonne of CO2 (carbon dioxide) or CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent gases) removed or reduced from the atmosphere from an emission reduction project, which can be used, by governments, industry or private individuals to offset damaging carbon emissions that they are generating.
Carbon credits are a part of international emission trading norms. They incentivise companies or countries that emit less carbon. The total annual emissions are capped and the market allocates a monetary value to any shortfall through trading. Businesses can exchange, buy or sell carbon credits in international markets at the prevailing market price.
India and China are likely to emerge as the biggest sellers and Europe is going to be the biggest buyers of carbon credits.
Last year global carbon credit trading was estimated at $5 billion, with India's contribution at around $1 billion. India is one of the countries that have 'credits' for emitting less carbon. India and China have surplus credit to offer to countries that have a deficit.
India, China and some other Asian countries have the advantage because they are developing countries. Any company, factories or farm owner in India can get linked to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and know the 'standard' level of carbon emission allowed for its outfit or activity. The extent to which I am emitting less carbon (as per standard fixed by UNFCCC) I get credited in a developing country. This is called carbon credit.
Today, one tonne of carbon credit fetches around Euro 22. It is traded on the European Climate Exchange. Therefore, you emit one tonne less and you get Euro 22. Emit less and increase/add to your profit. The Indian government has not fixed any norms nor has it made it compulsory to reduce carbon emissions to a certain level. Only those Indian companies that meet the UNFCCC norms and take up new technologies will be entitled to sell carbon credits.
There are parameters set and detailed audit is done before you get the entitlement to sell the credit. In India, already 300 to 400 companies have carbon credits after meeting UNFCCC norms. Till MCX came along, these companies were not getting best-suited price. Some were getting Euro 15 and some were getting Euro 18 through bilateral agreements. When the contract expires in December, it is expected that prices will be firm up then.     Source:

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Green Energy Technology in Public Buildings

Building Energy will help you understand your options. 

Solar technology is advancing rapidly and Dynamic Solar Tech is at the forefront. With our creative design team and today’s technologies you have choices beyond standard solar panel installations. Contact us for a FREE COMPETITIVE quote for using solar to generate electricity and to heat domestic water. We are experienced in Solar PV (Photovoltaic), Solar Hot Water systems.
Solar energy offers these advantages
over conventional energy:
■ Free after recovering upfront capital costs. Payback time can be relatively short.
■ Available everywhere and inexhaustible.
■ Clean, reducing demand for fossil fuels and hydroelectricity, and their environmental drawbacks.
■ Can be building-integrated, which can reduce energy distribution needs.
Building Energy’s team of experienced solar professionals will help you understand, assess, and plan the solar energy solution that best meets your needs. We will work as your partner through all the various stages of solar system implementation including site assessment, component selection, and installation.
A Site Assessment includes a shading analysis, roof inspection and review of your existing mechanical systems. We will also review your recent utility bills with you so that we can recommend the best system to meet your energy requirements.
Building design issues Careful solar design can:
■ Maximize possible solar transmission and absorption in winter to minimize or reduce to zero the heating energy consumption, while preventing overheating.
■ Use received solar gains for instantaneous heating load and store the remainder in embodied thermal mass or specially built storage devices.
■ Reduce heat losses using insulation and windows with high solar heat gain factors.
■ Employ shading control devices or strategically planted deciduous trees to exclude summer solar gains that create additional cooling load.
■ Employ natural ventilation to transfer heat from hot zones to cool zones in winter and for natural cooling in the summer; use ground-source cooling and heating to transfer heat to and from the underground, which is more or less at a constant temperature, and utilize evaporative cooling.
Design procedure
The initial design steps in solar design are to:
1. Set performance targets for energy sources and uses.
2. Minimize heating and cooling loads through orientation, massing, envelope and landscape design.
3. Maximize solar and other renewable energy to meet the building load, then to design efficient systems that are integrated with the building envelope performance characteristics.
4. Use simple energy simulation tools and detailed simulations in evaluating options at the early design stages and later to assess alternatives.
Wondering if you should FINANCE TO OWN OR LEASE your solar system? 

Our services include:

  • FREE Site evaluation
  • Technology and product recommendations
  • Return on investment calculations
  • System design
  • Permitting
  • System installation
For those who want a more aesthetic solar installation, building-integrated or building-applied solutions are the answer. Talk to us before you talk to your architect or designer to include these ideas in your designs.


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