Putting aside the whole debate over whether carbon footprints are really an accurate way to tell how much impact we’re having on the environment, the website WattzOn.com is a simple way to calculate your carbon footprint with your current usage.
You probably won’t be surprised to find out that most of it will be thanks to government, not yourself. My footprint, for instance, measures at 5,766W on the site, with 3,643 of that being due to government. My total footprint puts me at about 1400 watts less than the average WattzOn user. It also puts me slightly under the average Japanese household. I feel proud.
Measurements are made through a few simple questions, including your travel habits, driving and commuting habits, the number of people in your home, and so forth. The questions are simple to answer, but in many ways too simplistic. For instance, it asks for your monthly kilowatt hour usage, but doesn’t ask anything about alternative power inputs. My power is supplemented by wind. In my answer, I subtracted that and put in only the 200kwh that we purchase per month from the utility.
The site’s founders are M.I.T. graduates, for the most part, which says something about the mathematics behind the site at least. None of them are environmental scientists, howeverâˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ã¹engineering and physics appear to be their collateral background.
WattzOn.com is a fun novelty, but beyond that, I’m not so sure what else it would be useful for. Maybe it will guilt some people into living a little greener, but I’m more inclined to think that most will see it the way I did: as a dubious measurement that may or may not be qualified.