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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Carbon Footprint Calculator


Welcome to Santa Clara University's very own Carbon Footprint Calculator created by SCU students.

Or, if you prefer, welcome to a user-friendly device to measure our Bronco Hoofprint. We want to track the carbon that goes into a day in the life of an SCU student whether you're living on or off campus, eating meals in Benson, falling asleep during your 8 a.m. class (yes: we've done that, too), or flying back home after a stressful fall quarter.

We invite you to take this calculator to find out the size of your carbon footprint.

You may be wondering - "what is a carbon footprint calculator?" Well, it is a device that measures how much carbon dioxide it takes to support a lifestyle. We're referring to carbon dioxide as a gas emitted from fossil fuel sources. Immense amounts of these emissions have contributed to the unnatural warming of the atmosphere and the earth.

With this Bronco-based calculator, we'd like each member of the SCU community to see the connection between their everyday actions, the amount of fossil-fuel-related carbon dioxide those actions produce, and the effect on the world of such an amount of emissions. But don't worry: We're not in the catastrophe camp of environmentalists. We're not interested in suggesting that you have to buy sky-is-falling scenarios about what will happen if you don't change this or that aspect of your behavior. What we are interested in is inviting you to consider the connections: My actions produce these emissions with this effect on our world. And then we're interested in posing the question: What do you think you should do about it?

To get started please choose from the following:
On Campus
Off Campus or Full-time Commuter Student
Part-time Commuter Student or Faculty and staff


Do you longboard, skateboard, or bike to class?
Yes No

What size car do you use?

Do you use the bus?
Yes No

Do you use Caltrain or Bart?
Yes No

Have you traveled or do you plan to travel by airplane this year?
Yes No


How many nights a week do you go out? nights

How many red cups do you use on an average/party night? red cups

How many beers do you drink on average per party night? beers

How many nights do you pre-game? nights

Do you play drinking games? Yes No

Do you use reusable cups? Yes No


Approximately how many soft-cover books do you buy/quarter?

Approximately how many hard-cover books do you buy/quarter?

How often do you buy a new article of clothing in a given month?

If you drink your water from nonrefillable plastic bottles, how many do you buy/week?

Do you own a:   Smart Phone    mobile phone

How long have you had your current cell phone? Please approximate in years.

Do you own a: iPad    Kindle

How long have you had your current eReader? Please approximate in years.

Do you own an iPod? Yes    No

How long have you had your current iPod? Please approximate in years.


If you're an on campus resident choose from the following dorms:

From the following list of appliances, electronics, lighting, etc, input how many of each item are in your dorm room and how many hours a day each item is plugged in. If you own an item not listed below please be sure to fill in extra fields: What is the item and wattage? You can find the wattage on the bottom of most appliances. Be sure to multiply by 1000 if the wattage is given in kilowatts.

ITEM # of items Watts USAGE: hrs/day plugged in
Refrigerator 160
Microwave 1000
Clock radio 10
Coffee maker 1200
IPod dock 100
Stereo sound system 150
Computer desktop 225
Computer monitor 15" 35
Computer, laptop 60
Printer 100
TV 115
DVD/CD player 30
Air conditioner 1,100
Portable fan 115
Space heater 1000
Halogen floor lamp 300
Incandescent light bulb 75
Compact fluorescent light bulb 20
Vacuum cleaner 1440

Please select which meal plan you are currently on.
Preferred Basic Junior Senior No meal plan

Please select which diet best applies to you. " width="20px" />
Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore X-treme meat eater

If you drink coffee please select from the following options:

Do you buy food at farmers markets?
yes   no


From the following scale decide how much of your waste is recycled (the average person recycles around 17% of their waste)
Below Average
Above Average

From the following scale choose the amount of trash you accumulate/day (A bag of sugar weighs 4 lbs. The average person accumulates 4lbs trash/day)

Less than 4lbs
About 4lbs
Greater than 4lbs

On average how long are your showers? minutes

On average how many showers/week? times

On average how many loads of laundry/month? times

Average toilet flushes/day? flushes

Average cups of water you drink/day from tap or water fountain? cups " width="18px" />

Do you use a refillable water bottle? yes no



Why does sustainability even matter? The concept of sustainability is used pretty often. We've found ourselves tuning it out. But sustainability, when you strip away all the rhetoric and politics, poses a pretty good question: Do we have an obligation to hand on to the next generation a world that will allow them to have at least as good a life as the one we have? "Obligation" may seem like a pretty strong word. But "obligation" captures the significance of the equal right that a person of the future has for a good and healthy life compared to a person of the present – a person like all of us. But, if "obligation" does seem too strong, then why not think of sustainability in terms of the notion of "care." For instance, for the sake of the care of future children and grandchildren, should we act sustainably now?

Let's also bring this, so to speak, down to earth. So please consider the following:

  • We're all insanely busy students who don't think we have time to do this calculator, much less the time to change various habits in our lives that may be emitting an undue amount of carbon dioxide.
  • We all need to consider: Even the smallest changes can make a difference.
  • These changes can be things we, so to speak, give up: For instance, giving up meat once a week yields a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • Or these changes can be things that we do: Buy our own re-usable water bottle and drink from the tap. Or buy carbon offsets ‚Äì they're pretty cheap ‚Äì to account for the high emissions generated by our airplane travel.
  • Or we may already be dreaming big about a better world, moved by the beauty of the earth and dazzled by its complexity. If so: Let's make those dreams a reality!
  • Overall, please remember this calculator was created by Santa Clara University students just like yourself ‚Äì students who want our kids and grandkids to enjoy mother earth as much as we do!



Category KgCO2e / year " width="18px" /> Percentage
Transportation empty empty
Partying empty empty
Consumption empty empty
Energy empty empty
Food empty empty
Waste empty empty
Water empty empty
Total:: empty empty

Your result compared to the carbon emissions of the average citizen in the following countries: