Measuring your carbon footprint never used to be a thing.
But then, neither was our awareness of the threat from climate change.
Then, even when measuring your carbon footprint became a thing, it certainly was not easy to do.
But luckily enough, Go Eco has produced their 2nd in this series just for you!
If you haven’t yet read their first post, then what are you doing?
Why track your footprint at all?
We get a lot of messages from the government, from advertising and from celebrities that we urgently need to reduce our carbon footprint.
But how can we reduce our footprints without knowing them in the first place?
Just how do you go about measuring your carbon footprint?
- The good news is that lots of apps have appeared which allow you to measure your carbon footprint fairly easily.
- The bad news is there are a lot of choose from and sifting through which works best for you can take some time.
So we’ve made it easier for you.
Having tried out a few different apps, the below are our favourites and, we feel, the most accurate.
We worked out accuracy by calculating the same person’s footprint on multiple different apps.
Of the seven that we tried, four had fairly similar answers.
Read on to see which app is best suited to you and start your journey to measuring and reducing your carbon footprint!
Carbon Footprint app #1: Pawprint
We like this calculator as the questions feel thorough enough to give you an accurate carbon footprint…but the answer options, often given in sliding scales, makes it very user friendly.
It’s the best of both worlds!
You can always skip a question, so if you don’t know it immediately, you can skip it and easily come back once you do know.
When you download the app, you have the option of filling out your home, travel, diet and ‘other stuff’ surveys in order to calculate your footprint.
Or you can jump straight to the actions and habits section, but this won’t be personalised unless you first calculate your footprint.
See, the perks of measuring your carbon footprint!
With each section, you see how you compare to the rest of the UK and at the end, you are given a total footprint with a comparison to the rest of the nation.
Setting up the eco-app
Splitting the footprints into different sections makes it easy to see where you spend the most emissions.
But, therefore, where is easiest to start reducing.
Once you know your footprint you can use the ‘reduce’ section in which you add ‘actions’ which then become ‘habits’ once you have completed them several times in the app.
Beyond this, there is a community section in which you can join groups, create groups and invite friends.
In your profile section, you can see your ‘Pawpoints’ which can be spent voting for a charity monthly.
The chosen charity will receive a £1,000 donation from Pawprint.
Finally, you have your carbon history and your trophy cabinet in your profile.
Overall, it’s a well-rounded app that seems both accurate and user-friendly.
Carbon Footprint app #2: Almond
When trialling the different apps, Almond felt like the most thorough and accurate one.
Yet, it does not compromise user-friendliness.
The developers have clearly considered making Almond attractive for their audience, displaying the carbon calculator as a text message conversation in which messages appear for you to answer.
Pretty neat, right?
It makes measuring your carbon footprint that more entertaining.
So, what should you do?
You should sit down to complete it when you know you have time to fill out all the questions attaining to your habits.
Be it spending, eating, energy usage, and travel.
There is no option to return to questions.
They must all be completed one after another and if you want to re-do the quiz you must start over.
This said we like that there are more accurate answers you can give in order to get a better representation of your footprint.
Almond is one of the only ones that let you detail what items you recycle or compost, the latter of which can seriously reduce your carbon footprint.
Measuring your flights
Almond also covers flights well.
The majority of apps will ask how many short or long haul flights you made in the last year, with some splitting it into short, medium and long.
Almond on the other hand gives you a map of the world.
This map is split into six different zones and asks how many return flights to make to each of the zones.
This seems both more accurate and slightly easier to use when measuring your carbon footprint.
Far more than working out which flights come under short, medium or long haul
When completed, you’re told that you’ve planted your first tree, as well as shown your footprint in comparison to the ideal and the national average.
Offsetting your emissions
Almond is positioned as an app to help you offset your emissions.
Rewards come in the form of real trees being planted and protected through their charity partners:
You can earn ‘offset coins’ (which equate to one tree planted and five protected) by spending money through their featured brands.
For example, for every £2.86, you spend on your first buy at Green People, you earn one offset coin.
The app does a good job of rewarding green purchases with tangible rewards.
The most sustainable product is the one you already own!
Carbon Footprint app #3: Warmd
What we love about Warmd is its simplicity.
With a mere 15 questions, compared to Pawprint’s 28 and Almond’s 23, the questionnaire can be filled out quickly and easily.
Despite the simplicity, the final carbon footprint was very similar to that of Pawprint and Almond.
This may differ for those who can take advantage of Pawprint and Almond’s more thorough questionnaire to put in actions, such as composting.
They judge airtravel by hours in the last month, which admittedly can be difficult, actually no, near impossible, to answer.
We took the average we would spend on an aeroplane in a year and divided it by 12.
Also, it calculates your car or public transport (by distance travelled) in the last month.
That said, there are shortcut buttons like ‘1hr/day’ in the car.
It is easy to go back if you make a mistake.
And if you choose to redo the quiz it will remember your answers, so you only need to change the answers.
You’re given your footprint in CO2 equivalent per month, along with the number of miles that would equate to in a typical petrol car.
While you are not given a comparison to a national or global average, your footprint appears on a scale ranging from green (good) to red (not good).
Breaking down your carbon footprint
Your footprint is also broken down into 1) utilities, 2) goods/services, 3), food and 4) transportation.
You can set a reminder to do the test again in one month and the app will track your progress.
So it’s great if all you really want to do is work out your footprint.
There are some resources explaining climate change and global goals, as well as suggestions for how you can reduce your footprint.
Rather than focusing on small actions such as turning off lights, the app encourages bigger ones including:
- writing to governments,
- better insulating your home,
- more efficient heating such as heat pumps,
- using low-carbon electricity,
- and putting your money into banks that don’t invest in fossil fuels.
Takeaways – eco-apps are a must
Overall, the app you prefer to calculate your footprint will come down to personal choice.
If you want a more straightforward carbon calculator then try Warmd.
Either way, all 3 are great resources.
They empower consumers with the necessary tools to understand their carbon emissions so they can start reducing them.
And whichever you choose, that’s a positive.
What are your thoughts? Would you ever use an app to track your carbon footprint and individual emissions?
Let me us know with a comment below!