Carbon Footprint of Urban Households

Percentage of the world population residing in urban areas increased from 3 to 50 percent between 1800 and 2008. By 2050 it is anticipated that it will rise to 70 per cent. This rapid growth in urban population is specially significant in fast growing economies like India and Packers Household Company Viman Nagar . It leads to increase in energy consumption and adds to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Realizing this critical problem, TERI carried out a study titled ‘Estimating carbon footprint of urban household energy use’ with an aim to develop a tool to estimate carbon emissions due to energy usage in the household sector. The tool can be utilized by policy makers while developing energy strategies for urban areas. The study was undertaken in two phases. The first phase of the study focused on developing the tool which was designed on the basis of existing carbon footprint and ecological footprint calculators and modified to suit Indian household calculators.

The footprinting techniques namely ecological footprint (EF) and carbon footprint (CF) were evaluated for their application for assessing household energy footprint. The aim was to use the household footprints as an indicator of residential non-work energy consumption patterns of urban areas. These techniques were adapted and a framework developed to assess the CF of urban household energy use. In the second phase, the framework was applied in Jaipur (India) and in Shijiazhuang (China).

The calculations included greenhouse gas emissions for the entire life cycle (production, transportation, and consumption) of direct energy use of fuels like electricity by households. Household activities like cooking, lighting and so on were taken into consideration and personal transportation needs were also categorized in three sections i.e. local travel outstation domestic travel, and outstation international travel.

Data such as LPG consumption by households, energy consumption data, calorific values, life cycle emission factors, and Global Warming Potential (GWP) values were integrated into the assessment tool. Results for Jaipur indicted certain trends. While, higher income classes had more footprint because of higher consumption of electricity, petrol, diesel, and LPG, an increase in household income decreases kerosene and biomass consumption and increases the use of transport fuels. However, coal-generated electricity is the largest contributor to household carbon footprint across all incomes.

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