Welcome

Whole school communities can play a key role in reducing the school’s carbon footprint, by taking actions that can shrink their carbon footprints. Schools can take a systems-thinking approach to engage in evidence-based science investigations in efforts to reduce their overall carbon footprint that focuses on resiliency and embeds collaboration, creativity and innovation.

The Eco-Schools USA Carbon Calculator can be used in part,
  1. as a standalone calculator to assess your school’s carbon footprint;
  2. used in conjunction with our Cool School Challenge; and
  3. compliment the Consumption and Waste, Climate Change, Energy, Sustainable Food and Transportation Pathway.

Electricity Information

Instructions: In order to calculate your Electricity Emissions Factor, you'll first need to decide which energy mix you will use, the national average or your state's energy mix.

 »To enter your own state's energy mix, go to eia.gov/state/
   1. Click on your state.
   2. Scroll down under the Quick Facts. Click on the tab labeled, Electricity.
   3. Input your energy data into the appropriate spaces below.

INPUT UTILITY INFORMATION HERE:

  OR  

Type of Power National Average State-Based Average
Coal 37.4% %
Nuclear 19% %
Natural Gas 30.3% %
Oil 0.6% %
Hydro 6.7% %
Renewables & Other* 5.4% %
Electricity Emissions Factor: lbs CO2/kWh lbs CO2/kWh

*Other includes generation from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass (agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas recovery, wood, pitch), hydrogen, batteries, chemicals, non-wood waste, purchased steam, sulfur, and miscellaneous technologies

Other Appliances

Across the United States, school districts spend more than $7.5 billion a year on energy. In many municipalities, schools are the largest energy consumer. But up to 30 percent of that energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. Look at how energy is used at school and consider actions to reduce energy use and the school's carbon footprint. One strategy to reduce energy use is simple behavior change - turn off the lights - use natural light when possible, unplug devices and get rid of personal classroom appliances, such as coffee makers, microwaves, and mini-refrigerators.

Instructions: Use the results from the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances to enter data into the next three tabs. Data entered below should be the summation of all rooms assessed.

You have selected to use the Standard Plan as the source for your fuel mix.

Based on this electricity fuel mix, your electricity emissions factor is lbs CO2/kWh

Input the data below, found in the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances.

Electronic device Wattage How many? Hours of operation per day
Before Taking Action After Taking Action

Summary of Results by Appliance/Device

Total kWh consumed
per day
Total kWh
per 180-day school year
Total CO2 emissions
per day (lbs)
Total CO2 emissions
per 180-day school year (lbs)
Device Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action

Summary of Results-All Appliances/Devices

CO2 Emissions
per day (lbs)
CO2 emissions
per 180-day school year (lbs)
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As a result of carbon emissions saved, your school is also saving energy, reducing carbon impacts and saving the school district money. Be sure to note this data as you address the Energy Pathway.

Energy Vampires

Across the United States, school districts spend more than $7.5 billion a year on energy. In many municipalities, schools are the largest energy consumer. But up to 30 percent of that energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. Look at how energy is used at school and consider actions to reduce energy use and the school's carbon footprint. One strategy to reduce energy use is simple behavior change - turn off the lights - use natural light when possible, unplug devices and get rid of personal classroom appliances, such as coffee makers, microwaves, and mini-refrigerators.

Instructions: Use the results from the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances to enter data into the next three tabs. Data entered below should be the summation of all rooms assessed.

You have selected to use the Standard Plan as the source for your fuel mix.

Based on this electricity fuel mix, your electricity emissions factor is lbs CO2/kWh

Input the data below, found in the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances.

Electronic device How many? End of day operating mode
Before Taking Action After Taking Action

Desktop Computer

Laptop

Tablet

Flat Screen Monitor (LCD)

Multi-Function Printer/Scanner/Copier

Speakers

SMART Board

Projector

Coffee Maker

Personal Microwave

Personal Mini-Refrigerator

Total kWh consumed per day Total kWh per 180-day school year Total CO2 emissions per "night" (lbs) Total CO2 emissions per 180-day school year (lbs)
Device Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action Before Taking Action After Taking Action
Desktop Computer
Laptop
Tablet
Flat Screen Monitor (LCD)
Multi-Function Printer/Scanner/Copier
Speakers
SMART Board
Projector
Coffee Maker
Personal Microwave
Personal Mini-Refrigerator

Summary of Results

CO2 Emissions
per 16-hour "night" (lbs)
CO2 emissions
per 180-day school year (lbs)
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As a result of carbon emissions saved, your school is also saving energy, reducing carbon impacts and saving the school district money. Be sure to note this data as you address the Energy Pathway.

School Lighting

Across the United States, school districts spend more than $7.5 billion a year on energy. In many municipalities, schools are the largest energy consumer. But up to 30 percent of that energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. Look at how energy is used at school and consider actions to reduce energy use and the school's carbon footprint. One strategy to reduce energy use is simple behavior change - turn off the lights - use natural light when possible, unplug devices and reduce the number of personal classroom appliances, such as coffee makers, microwaves, and mini-refrigerators.

Instructions: Use the results from the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances to enter data into the next three tabs. Data entered below should be the summation of all rooms assessed.

You have selected to use the Standard Plan as the source for your fuel mix.

Based on this electricity fuel mix, your electricity emissions factor is lbs CO2/kWh

Input the data below, found in the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Lighting, Energy Vampires, and Other Appliances

Classroom # of bulbs per switch Watts per bulb Before taking action (# of hours switch is on, per day) After taking action (# of hours switch is on, per day)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
  
Summary of Results
CO2 Emissions per day (lbs) Co2 Emissions per 180-day school year (lbs)
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As a result of carbon emissions saved, your school is also saving energy, reducing carbon impacts and saving the school district money. Be sure to note this data as you address the Energy Pathway.

Transportation

Travel varies according to where we live and where we need to go. Every mode of transportation has an impact on an individual’s health, community, and the environment. Often our modes of transportation rely heavily on methods that contribute to significant amounts carbon dioxide (CO2). Take a look at how the school community travels to and from school, by bus, driving or being driven, walking or riding a bike. One strategy to use is to promote and communicate alternatives forms of transportation and safe routes to school.

Data entered below should be the summation the data collected from participating students and staff. Input the data below collected from your worksheet, Carbon Calculator: Transportation.

Note: Riding the bus is a climate-friendlier action than driving alone or carpooling. At this time there is no conclusive data for school bus contributions to CO2 emissions and is the reason we have chosen not to include school buses as a transportation option.

Transportation Inputs Before Taking Action After Taking Action
1. What is the average, roundtrip distance (miles per day) traveled per day, by students/staff?
2. What is the average number of days students/staff drive alone? (Parent and student, student only, staff member only)
3. What is the mileage of the vehicle driven? (MPG)
4. How many days per week, on average do students/staff carpool to school? (Parent and student plus other students, multiple students, multiple staff)
5. What is the mileage of the carpool vehicle? (MPG)
6. What are the total # of people traveling in the carpool?
7. In a week, what are the average number of days students/staff walk or bike to school?
Carbon Impact Before Taking Action After Taking Action
Average gallons of gasoline burned each week, driving alone to and from school
Average pounds of CO2 emitted per week, when driving alone
Gallons of gasoline burned each week by the carpool vehicle
Average pounds of CO2 emitted per week, per person in the carpool
Commuting by foot, bike or bus are climate-friendly modes of transportation which do not generate any additional greenhouse gasses.

Summary of Results

CO2 Emissions
per week (lbs)
CO2 Emissions
per 36-week school year (lbs)
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As a result of carbon emissions saved, your school is also saving energy, reducing carbon impacts and saving the school district money. Be sure to note this data as you address the Energy Pathway.

Solid Waste - Trash

Instructions: Americans make up roughly 5% of the world’s population, but generate nearly 40% of the world’s total waste and on a daily basis, the United States produces enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks. Enter data below to determine how many pounds of CO2 is generated from the trash thrown away at school. Use the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: Classroom Trash to gather all data, whether it is from one classroom, grade level, floor or entire school. Enter the sum of all the data below.

LBS
1. How much does the trash can weigh when completely empty?
2. When the trash can is completely full, measure it again.
3. A full trash can contains approximately this many pounds of trash:
Before Taking Action After Taking Action
4) What is the average number of full bins of trash collected each week?

Summary of Results

CO2 emissions per week (lbs) CO2 emissions per 36-week school year (lbs)
Before Taking Action:
After Taking Action:
Total CO2 emissions savings

As the result of carbon emissions saved, you are also reducing rates of consumption and increasing rates of recycling. Be sure to note this data as you address the Consumption and Waste pathway.

School's Paper Consumption

Instructions: The process by which paper makes it to school for student and staff contributes to a school's carbon footprint. One ream of paper contains 500 sheets and it is estimated that the average teacher uses 50 reams of paper in one school year. Enter the data below to determine CO2 emissions from paper use. Consider the following strategies to reduce the amount of paper the school uses. Change the default setting on your printer to print double-sided, ask yourself before you print, "Does this really need to be printed?", and investigate a paper-less policy (many districts are looking at this as a way to save money). Use the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: School Paper to gather all data, whether it is from one classroom, grade level, floor or entire school.

Data entered below should be the summation of data collected from all rooms assessed. Input the data below, found in the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator. School Solid Waste - Trash, Paper, Plastics, and Cups.



Before Taking Action After Taking Action
1. On average, how many reams of paper are used per week?
2. What is the recycled content of the paper? (Pick the percentage from the drop-down menu.)
3. Based on its paper consumption habits, this classroom/grade level/school generates this many pounds of CO2 per     week:

Summary of Results

CO2 Emissions per week (lbs) CO2 Emissions per 36-week school year (lbs)
Before taking action.
After taking action.
Total CO2 emissions savings

As the result of carbon emissions saved, you are also reducing rates of consumption and increasing rates of recycling. Be sure to note this data as you address the Consumption and Waste pathway.

Plastic Water Bottles and Beverage Cups

50 billion water bottles are sold in the US every year. 1,500 water bottles are thrown away every second of every day. Take note that is only water bottles and does not include soda bottles. One strategy to reduce single plastic use bottles and beverage cups is to bring your own refillable bottle to school and if you do buy a plastic water bottle or beverage cup, reuse and recycle it.

Data entered below should be the summation of data collected from all rooms assessed. Input the data below collected from the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator, School Solid Waste-Trash, Paper, Plastics and Cups.

Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
1. Approximately how many plastic water bottles are used each week?
2. On average, are plastic water bottles recycled or thrown away?
3. On average, do most coffee/tea drinkers at the school use a reusable insulated container for their hot
    beverage? (dropdown Yes/No)
4. Approximately how many disposable cups are used in a week?

Classroom Results

School Impact
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
Based on the response provide in question 1, the pounds of plastic bottles and cups used each week equates to:
Based on the response provided in question 2, the pounds of CO2 emitted by plastic bottles and cups used each week equates to:
When our school recycles plastic bottles and cups, we reduce our pounds of CO2 per week by:

Summary of Results

CO2 emissions
per week (lbs)
CO2 emissions
per 36-week school year (lbs)
Before taking action
After taking action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As the result of carbon emissions saved, you are also reducing rates of consumption and increasing rates of recycling. Be sure to note this data as you address the Consumption and Waste pathway.

Food Waste

Food loss and waste accounts for about 4.4 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) per year. To put this in perspective, if food loss and waste were its own country, it would be the world’s third-largest GHG emitter – surpassed only by China and the United States. One strategy to combat these emissions is to compost plant-based food waste.

Use the worksheet titled, Carbon Calculator: Food Waste to gather all data, whether it is from one classroom, grade level, floor or entire school. Enter the sum of all the data below.

Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
1. On average, how many pounds of food are wasted in one day?

Classroom Results

School Impact
Before Taking Action
After Taking Action
The food waste per day is equivalent to this many pounds of CO2.

Summary of Results

CO2 emissions
per week (lbs)
CO2 emissions
per 36-week school year (lbs)
Before taking action
After taking action
Total CO2 emissions savings

As the result of carbon emissions saved, you are also reducing rates of consumption and increasing rates of recycling. Be sure to note this data as you address the Consumption and Waste pathway.

Summary

Number of students and staff at your school: 1 (# of students and staff in school entered summary page)

Below is a summary of the school's carbon footprint. Take into account this summary doesn't reflect the school's entire footprint.

The "Before Taking Action" column represents an estimate of the annual "normal" CO2 emissions, if the school makes no effort to reduce its carbon footprint. The "After Taking Action" column represents an estimate of the annual CO2 emissions after students implement their action plan - implementing changes to reduce the school's carbon footprint.

The "Potential Savings per Year" represent estimates of the CO2 emissions, electricity and costs the school has prevented or saved, by taking action. Savings are based on the assumption that the school will maintain the climate-friendly actions they have adopted.

This graph below shows the difference between this school's emissions before and after taking action to reduce its carbon footprint. The orange bars represent the classroom's emissions before taking action and the blue bars represent the classroom's emissions after taking action.

Carbon Emission Results: Before and After Taking Action
What does it mean?
Through your actions to reduce your carbon footprint, your classroom could save pounds of CO2 emissions per year. This is the same as:
The CO2 emitted by driving a 4 passenger car miles.
The CO2 emitted by driving passenger vehicles per year.
The CO2 sequestered by tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
School Audit Summary
Audit Category Estimated CO2 emissions per year Potiential savings per year
Before taking action (lbs) After taking action (lbs) CO2 emissions savings (lbs) Electricity savings (kWh) Cost Savings ($)
School lighting 0 0 0 0 0
Energy "vampires" 0 0 0 0 0
Other Appliances 0 0 0 0 0
Transportation 0 0 0 N/A 0
Trash 0 0 0 N/A 0
Paper 0 0 0 N/A 0
Food 0 0 0 N/A 0
Plastic Bottles 0 0 0 N/A 0
Total
This is equal to lbs of CO2 per student

Methodology

Numbers used in the calculation of carbon emissions

ELECTRICITY CONVERSION FACTORS
SOURCE lbs. CO2/kWh
coal 2.23
natural gas 0.92
oil 2.02
PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES
One 16 oz PET plastic water bottle weighs 0.04 lbs
One short ton of PET reduced 2.17 lbs of CO2/lbs of PET reduced
One short ton of PET recycled 1.15 lbs of CO2/lbs of PET reduced
Average cost of one 16 oz. plastic bottle of water $1.50
DATA SOURCE: https://www.epa.gov/warm/versions-waste-reduction-model-warm
FOOD WASTE
POUNDS OF WASTE IS EQUIVALENT TO X POUNDS OF CO2
lbs of waste 1
lbs of CO2 1.9
DATA SOURCE: https://watchmywaste.com.au/food-waste-greenhouse-gas-calculator/
Original data states that 2.2 pounds of food waste is equivalent to 4.18 pounds of CO2.
SCHOOL TRASH
SOURCE AMOUNT
One metric ton of municipal solid waste sent to the landfil emits 0.36 CO2e
1 metric ton 2204.62 lbs
National average cost of waste collection services 0.0004 $/lbs 55.36 $/metric ton
SCHOOL PAPER
POUNDS OF CO2 EQUIVALENT PER REAM OF PAPER, BY RECYCLED CONTENT
RECYCLE CONTENT lbs CO2/ Ream Cost/Ream
0% 44 10.99
30% 37 11.49
100% 19 13.09
Average Fuel Efficency 47.2
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the combustion of one gallon of gasoline generates 19.64
Average annual CO2 emissions of a typical passenger vehicle 2204.62
According to the OneTreePlanted, growing one tree seedling for 10 years sequesters 48
Average cost per gallon of gas 2.26