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How to Reduce Your Technology Carbon Footprint

        Tech | How-to Tech

Determining Your Technology Carbon Footprint
Once you gather all of your gas and electric bills and any other carbon-related data, online carbon calculators can help you determine your personal footprint.
Once you gather all of your gas and electric bills and any other carbon-related data, online carbon calculators can help you determine your personal footprint.
John Rowley/Getty Images

Before you even start to think about reducing your technology carbon footprint, you first need to determine the size of your carbon footprint. There are several different ways to do this, but to begin you should collect any recent electric, gas and oil bills you receive for your household. This lets you looks at real numbers instead of estimates, either in dollars or in kilowatts per hour. Also, because your energy bills will vary according to the season depending on how much energy you use to heat or cool your home, try to get the best possible average of your spending during the winter and summer months.

It's also good to get an idea of how much you're traveling, and any estimates regarding how many miles you drive weekly or annually and the average gas mileage your vehicle gets.

Once you have these things in mind, the easiest way to determine your technology carbon footprint is to use on online carbon calculator. These tools, like the one from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), base their calcuations on general estimates of things like average fuel economy, electricity usage and waste disposal in America. Once you plug in your personal numbers, the calculator compares those averages with your personal data. You then can have a relatively accessible number that you can hold up against the typical technology user.

Of course, some of us drive less than others or take the train to work, while others' jobs require more driving. Some homes are bigger than others, so it might take more energy to heat or cool a particular house. Even the area you live in affects your carbon footprint, since different places use electricity created from different kinds of fuel, and this is often one of the first things a carbon footprint calculator will ask you.

So everyone's carbon footprint measurement will ultimately be different, but the steps people can take to reduce emissions can help. What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?