Carbon Tracker FAQ
Welcome to the CURE100 Carbon Tracker App. You can reduce your carbon footprint greatly through thoughtful personal choices. This app can help you make choices with big impact — choices that will, over time, reduce your carbon footprint, improve your health, and (yes, seriously) increase your wealth.
Purpose of the App
You cannot reduce your carbon footprint unless you measure it accurately. The app will help you:
– Measure the contributors to your carbon footprint and track improvements over time.
– Compare carbon-saving strategies and focus on the biggest hitters.
– Think ahead to the time when big purchasing decisions will present themselves (e.g., furnace replacement or car replacement).
In addition, your anonymized input will, over time, help CURE100 community organizations to track the overall progress of our communities towards the goal of 5% reduction of emissions per year and net zero by 2040.
Before launching the app, please collect the following information:
– Google credentials (e.g., gmail account login) or you may create a Login ID using a non-Google email address by following these instructions.
– Make, model and annual miles driven for each vehicle in the household.
– Amount of electricity (kilowatt-hours or units) consumed annually. You can get this from your utility account online or from monthly paper bills. A single paper bill will often give you a year’s worth of consumption data.
– Amount of fuel oil, natural gas or propane consumed annually for heating, hot water and cooking.
Brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee, settle down for about 45 minutes, and launch the app!
– Any information you provide is secure with CURE100.
– Understanding carbon impact is a personal matter, like stepping on a weighing scale. The goal is not to be judgmental, but rather to increase awareness.
– The Carbon Tracker app will make you aware of options, recommendations and rebates.
– As we improve the app, we will release new versions that enhance navigation, improve intuitiveness and introduce new features.
Carbon Tracker “Office Hours” are offered if you prefer to have a volunteer guide you through setup and use of the Carbon Tracker
A few practical tips
– You can use the app any time 24×7. The app saves your entries, and you can go back and edit your entries at any time.
– The app addresses six themes: Transportation (Vehicles, Flights, Train Commuting and Other Uses of Gas/Diesel), Heating, Electricity, Food and Waste, Goods and Services, and Zip Code Overhead. In each theme, you will be asked some questions. When you submit your answers, you can see the carbon results for that theme by clicking on “My Carbon.” A bar graph shows an updated summary of your carbon impact.
– You can use the app for “What if” analysis, e.g., “What if I switch to an electric vehicle” or “What if I changed my diet.” You can measure the carbon impact of such changes, and either save the new values (meaning that you have implemented the changes) or discard them by clicking a “Cancel” button.
– The app allows you to visualize the past, present and future of your carbon footprint. In particular, you can make pledges (to yourself) to take certain decarbonizing steps at certain dates in the future and view the carbon reduction thereof.
– The app works on any modern browser (e.g., Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Bing) and any platform (laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone).
– If you get stuck or are unsure how to answer a question, use the Feedback tab of the app or e-mail us at [email protected]. We are committed to making the app more user-friendly.
Q: Is my information secure?
Q: How does the carbon tracker work?
A: The carbon tracker relies on a number of different studies by reputed organizations like the EPA. Activities like heating or transportation are converted into tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions and presented in the app. The quantified framework is invaluable in increasing awareness and suggesting next steps. Read this blog to learn about the history of and source for the Carbon Tracker. The main datasets are physical constants from the EPA Calculator, the Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (EPA, 2021 data last published January 2023), the National Census (2020), and usage/consumption information from the Cool Climate study (Berkeley, 2014). See the “Methodology” tab of the carbon tracker for more details.
Q: How accurate is the carbon tracker?
A: While we have taken all reasonable steps to be pretty accurate, the intention is not to track every molecule of CO2e, but to provide big-picture directionally correct estimates that can guide our behaviors. See the “Methodology” tab of the carbon tracker for more details on how carbon is calculated.
Q: Is the Carbon Tracker only for Croton on Hudson?
A: No. While it was initially designed for residents of the zip code 10520, the app will perform carbon calculations for any of the 30,000+ zip codes in the United States. The app can be licensed for free to any not-for-profit, and can be customized to any zip code in the United States. Contact us at [email protected], if you are interested.
Q: I just finished using the app. What should I do next?
A: Stare at your bar graph summary and ask yourself, “How do I cut my carbon emissions in half by 2030?” and create a long-term action plan for yourself.
Q: I found a bug in the app. I also have suggestions for improvement. Can I get in touch with the developers?
A: Yes, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us by using the Feedback tab of the app or at [email protected].
Q: What, exactly, is a Community?
A: For the purposes of the Carbon Tracker tool, we have defined Community as one of the Chapters or Licensee organizations that is listed on the launch page. Community does not necessarily refer specifically to a town or geographic location (example: a chapter of the Audubon Society may span several zip codes, but is one Community). It is worth noting that in the tool, a typical household carbon footprint for your zip code is provided for reference. The zip code as well as the town you reside in (while you may think of them as a communities ) are not regarded as Communities for the purposes of the Carbon Tracker.
Q: Can I change my community, and if I do, what happens?
A: The Community is set in the software based on the link you use to launch the Carbon Tracker. If you subsequently launch the software using a different Community launch button, that information will be added to the database under the new Community and the previous one will remain as a data point for the old community’s statistics.