Consumers Can Track Carbon Footprint On Website

BERLIN – With so much written and said about energy consumption and one’s personal impact on the environment, Delmarva Power this week launched an online “carbon calculator” to help power purchasers and consumers track their usage in a variety of factors and determine how they stack up against their neighbors in terms of energy use.

Delmarva Power officials this week announced a new initiative to allow their customers to track their energy use and lifestyle habits to determine just how much they are impacting their environment. The web-base carbon calculator uses a consumer’s input on a variety of factors including the type and size of home they live in, what type of energy these use to supply their home, what they drive, how much they drive and others to assign a number on their carbon footprint based on the number of tons of carbon monoxide they produce.

Perhaps, more importantly, the interactive educates consumers on their carbon emissions and provides them with several alternatives for reducing their footprints and, in turn, reduce their consumption and lower their energy bills in the process.

“Delmarva Power in on the leading edge of providing useful information to its customers that will go a long way toward helping them achieve lower energy bills and protect our environment,” said Delmarva Power president Gary Stockbridge.

According to the website, the national average for one’s own carbon footprint is 24.4 tons of carbon monoxide produced each year. By plugging in information about the type and size of house they live in, what they drive and how much they drive, how many times they take a shower in a week and how many times they do laundry or run the dishwasher, consumers are able to determine their own carbon footprint and compare it the national average.

To test the new carbon footprint calculator, several different examples of typical Worcester County residents were plugged into the equation with varying results. In the first example, a modest West Ocean City townhouse of about 1,000 square feet with two adult occupants and two vehicles was plugged into the equation. The fictional example included electricity as the sole energy source with central air conditioning and fairly new appliances. The average electric usage per month was plugged in at 750 kilowatts per month based on a most recent Delmarva Power bill with an average water usage of about 100 gallons per day.

In this example, the fictional residents did some recycling, but not much, and used little or no water for outside watering. The fictional residents in this example had two cars that got decent gas mileage, and drove a relatively low number of miles each week. The carbon footprint number in this example came in at 16.6, or significantly lower than the 24.4 national average.

In another fictional example plugged into the equation, a single-family home in Berlin of about 1,500 square feet with three occupants and two cars, primarily using electricity with some propane gas usage, two cars, some recycling and some outdoor water use did somewhat worse than the first example with a carbon footprint calculated at 24.7, or slightly higher than the national average.

In yet another example common in the resort area, an Ocean City condo of around 800 square feet with electricity as the sole source of energy and two occupants with two cars and no recycling and no outdoor water use was plugged into the equation. This example returned a carbon footprint number of just 14.3.

Similar to the Turbo Tax calculator, the base information is plugged in first starting with a high number, then deductions are removed based on the green-friendly practices of the occupants. For example, if the residence uses energy efficient appliances, the number goes down. If compact fluorescent light bulbs are used, the number goes down further.