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Carbon Audits

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 8 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Waste Carbon Dioxide Carbon Pollution

In this year’s party conference, Gordon Brown announced that he would be setting new, increased, targets for the reduction of carbon dioxide of 80% by the year 2050.

In order to do this there will be a growing requirement for companies and households to undertake a carbon audit.

What Is A Carbon Audit?

A carbon audit is a set of measurements to determine, at its simplest level, how much carbon dioxide a company, household, industry etc is emitting into the atmosphere. There are many ways in which these measurements can be carried out but hey main involve making calculations based on how much energy is emitted and at what cost.

Carbon dioxide, a by-product from the burning of fossil fuels is one of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming and unpredictable weather patterns. It accounts for 60% of the man-made ‘greenhouse’ effect and is thus having a big effect on the delicate balance of the atmosphere.

By curbing the amount of greenhouse gas being emitted, scientists hope that they can help slow and possibly stop the speed at which climate change is taking place.

How Is Carbon Dioxide Produced?

Carbon Dioxide is an odourless, colourless gas is formed as a by-product of respiration (we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide) and when organic matter breaks down.

It is also a waste product when fuel is used to make energy and so every time we use energy sources such as gas, coal, electricity, oil and so on, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.

Carbon Footprint

Far from being the preserve of big fossil-fuel based industries, carbon dioxide pollution is something that every one of us is responsible for. And if we live in the West, then we carry an extra burden of responsibility - for even though the UK represents only 1% of the world’s population, we are responsible for 3% of carbon emissions. This figure represents our ‘carbon footprint’.

In a more local sense, a carbon footprint is the effect that each appliance, household gadget, home or company has, in terms of how much carbon it produces as a by-product of its function.

There are many ways in which you can measure what your carbon cost is by either using ready-made calculation models, easily found on the Internet for instance, or by asking a specialist carbon auditing company to carry out tests.

Carbon Auditing In Your Home

The domestic home is one of the largest producers of carbon and there are many simple steps we can all take to audit our carbon output and do something about it.

Why not follow some of the suggestions below and join the ‘Switch it Off’ campaign.

  • Switch of your lights when you leave a room.
  • Turn down your heating – just by one notch makes a difference.
  • Replace ordinary bulbs with energy-saving ones.
  • Compost your green waste and don’t send it to landfill.
  • Don’t leave gadgets and gizmos on standby – switch them off at the wall.
  • Don’t leave your mobile ‘phone on charge.
  • Only fill a kettle with amount of water you need.

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