A carbon footprint is "the total set of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event or product”. For simplicity of reporting, it is often expressed in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent of other GHGs, emitted.A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts- the primary foot print and the secondary footprint.
The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane). We have direct control of these.
The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect CO2 emissions from the whole life-cycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf. The decision regarding the kind of food we take, vehicle we use, and our tendency to recycle and reuse add to this footprint.
Carbon footprint measurement for a product
The carbon footprint is actually, a sub-set of the data covered by a more complete concept given by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is an internationally standardized method (ISO 14040, ISO 14044) for the evaluating the environmental resources consumed and burdens created during the whole life-cycle of product – from extraction of raw materials to final disposal of product. One of the key impact categories considered in an LCA is climate change. Hence, it can be said that a carbon footprint is actually a life cycle assessment with the analysis limited to emissions that have a climate change related effects. Therefore, background data sources for the footprint are those available in existing LCA databases containing the life cycle profiles of the goods and services that we purchase, as well as of many of the raw materials involved, underlying energy sources, transports etc.
How can we help?
We can take a number of steps to reduce the greenhouse effect, including the following:
•Buy energy efficient devices as these require less energy to do their job, meaning lower bills and less fossil fuels being burned
•Reduce the electricity use by turning off the devices when not in use, replacing the old bulbs with new and more energy efficient LED bulbs
•Trying out the alternative sources of energy like solar energy devices, windmill kits etc.
•Buying durable and long lasting goods as that may reduce the transportation and manufacturing expenses
•Reducing the usage of refrigerants and air conditioner
•Reduce the heating usage
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