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Carbon Footprint Calculator – Or: Not Seeing The Forest For The Trees!

When Kim and I started with Codyo, we heard plenty of people saying, “There’s a lot of that already. It’s nothing but a footprint calculator.” Is that really the case? And do the existing carbon footprint calculators provide a helpful solution for individuals? That is what I wanted to find out!

My research has shown the following: Yes, it’s true. There are a large number of carbon footprint calculators – and they are all from well-known providers. For example, Google search delivers the following results in the top 3 on the first page: by Brot für die Welt, the WWF climate calculator and the carbon calculator of the Federal Environment Agency. Utopia also offers a comprehensive explanation of the function of a carbon calculator and looks at the mentioned calculators and two others. But there are also specific calculators, e.g. for the footprint of journeys, as offered by Quarks and atmosfair.

I’ve calculated my footprint (multiple times). This gave me a bad feeling at first – even though I seem to be in a better position than the average German. But I didn’t know what to do with the results of the individual carbon footprint calculators and the recommendations I received were not very specific.

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In addition to the numerous carbon footprint calculators, there are also plenty of climate apps…

I also wondered which climate apps are available that allow me to do exactly the things I mentioned above. So I installed a bunch of apps on my smartphone: KlimaKompass, RePrint, Carbon Trim, Oroeco – to name just a few.

I quickly found out that all apps offer a calculation of the carbon footprint as a basic function as well as some additional features. And although I am interested in the topic, almost no climate app managed to capture my interest for longer than a few minutes. But is this only for me?

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Carbon footprint calculator as the central topic of my user discussions

What is the status of the Codyo community? Are there more people like me? In my user conversations, I have specifically addressed the topic of carbon footprint calculators, but it seems that although many people are familiar with the principle of the footprint calculator, they have not yet dealt with the topic in depth.

Some of the people that were interviewed calculated their carbon footprint online. All of them felt the same as me: at first you feel bad. It also seems difficult to determine the values. Those who use different computers are simply confused in the end, because the values may show deviations. Only a few of the participants changed their habits after the calculation, but they had to actively inform themselves again . And this – as the interviews showed – is a problem, as it seems to be difficult and not always clear.

What does that tell me so far? Yes, there are countless possible solutions. But so far I haven’t found any that are used more than once and present the topic in such a helpful and individualized way that they motivate serious, sustainable changes in behavior.

Do you have a solution? Did you use a climate app or carbon footprint calculator? And what experiences have you had?

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