Here you will find tips on how your tenant owners’ association can reduce its carbon footprint and energy consumption. In addition to having a lower climate footprint, it also makes your apartment block more attractive and resilient for the future.
Install solar panels. Depending on the location of the roof, this is an investment that can pay off in 10-15 years.
Install chargers for electric vehicles to allow for flat owners to buy electric cars.
Install geothermal heating. It can be both an environmental and economic win, depending on the conditions of your particular house.
Improve insulation to lower energy consumption
Introduce heat recovery in the ventilation system. .
Switch to LED lighting. A 20-year-old lighting system uses four times more energy than a new one.
Introduce sharing services like car and bike pools.
Make sure there are safe spaces to store bikes.
Introduce individual hot water metering. There are several exciting solutions being developed. Start-up company Labtrino has developed a flow meter that can be installed without a plumber.
You might be wondering why we are doing this and also why we had it in the first place?! And first and foremost – what is it?
Ok, so when you calculate your carbon footprint with GoClimate and get a result of, let’s say, 12 tonnes of CO2e per year, you have – if you signed up with our old calculator – carbon offsetted 24 tonnes of CO2e/year.
Why did we apply this buffer factor in the first place?
Well – there were several reasons for this.
First we wanted to make an as big climate impact as possible. And since carbon offsetting was so cheap we found that very few people signing up minded doubling their impact. Having all of us offsetting twice as many tonnes of emissions as our lifestyle caused, did a bigger and quicker climate impact.
We also wanted the offsetting to cover all the small details that might have been left out of our calculator. Our goal was (and is still) to provide a tool that is incredibly easy to use, which by asking the right questions can give a good approximation of the carbon footprint. Instead of striving for a very precise answer, which would require asking for a lot of details that one might have to recall or look up but wouldn’t have a huge impact on the result, the calculator is formulated so that anyone can answer effortlessly and get a fairly accurate idea of their impact.
We also found the buffer factor a good way of hedging for risks in the climate projects we support.
So simply put, we used the buffer to compensate for miscalculations of your emissions, for risks in the projects we support and because carbon offsetting used to be relatively cheap.
Why we decided to remove it
The cost of high quality carbon credits has risen with more than 3x, and now more accurately reflects the damage caused by carbon emissions.
Since the launch of the calculator we have also added a few more questions to it to cover more details of your footprint.
We’re also stopping to use the term carbon neutral. We rather ask people to balance their carbon footprint out and contribute with critical climate financing.
What happens if I changed my subscription after I signed up?
Since we unfortunately have no easy way of telling whether you changed your subscription after you signed up or not, we will assume that the buffer factor has been used when you changed your subscription.
The result of us removing the factor will be that we half the amount of tonnes in your adjusted subscription. If you want to keep it, feel free to add it manually in your payment settings page.
During the summer 2021, we conducted a survey among all our members who offset their carbon footprint with GoClimate. 552 people participated, corresponding to 12% of our members at that point in time.
GoClimate members are truly active climate change fighters
25-30% of GoClimate members take climate action that goes far beyond their own lifestyle changes and climate funding contributions. In response to the question “In the last three years, have you done any of the following?”, this is the result:
30% of GoClimate members state that they have participated in climate protests, 71% have signed climate petitions, 27% have been in contact with politicians or their municipality with climate-related issues, 25% have asked their workplace or school about their climate work, 21% have contacted a store or a brand about their sustainability work and 77% has made a major lifestyle change like swapping to a more climate-friendly diet, stopped flying or switching fossil cars to electric ones or bicycles.
This is climate action taken by our members on top of their monthly contribution to important climate financing to move away from fossil based energy systems among others.
The view of one’s own climate footprint
In response to the question of how our members view their personal carbon footprint, 74% states that they are working actively to reduce their footprint. 8% say that they would like to, but don’t know how. Another 7% say that they already have a low footprint and have a hard time lowering it more. 8% say that they are not working actively with reducing their footprint. Several members state that it is difficult to change diet and travel habits completely.
The next focus of GoClimate
We gave eleven suggestions on what the GoClimate team could focus on in the future. The suggestions that got the most votes were a carbon budget tool for individuals (57%), that GoClimate increase the focus on influencing politicians and society through creating opinion, petitions and debate articles (55%), a feature that displays exactly which climate projects a member personally has supported and with how much (53%), individualized tips to help reduce a member’s footprint (48%) and the possibility to compare climate footprints from year to year (39%).
Growing the GoClimate community
The majority of the respondents found out about us via recommendations and social media. So please keep discussing the climate with friends, tell them about us and share blog posts and our infographics on Instagram.
Here you can find the results of the 2019 and 2020 member survey on carbon footprint, carbon offsetting and GoClimate.
There are currently multiple terms floating around regarding the climate and our relation to our emissions. This can be especially complicated for companies, who want to communicate their efforts to do good for the climate, but want to avoid confusion and even being accused of greenwashing. Therefore, it is important to use the right terminology with the right intent. Let’s figure this out!
What does carbon neutral mean?
“Carbon neutral” is something (like a product or a company) where the carbon emissions it causes are balanced, or compensated for, elsewhere. The result is that no additional CO2 reaches the atmosphere because of this product/company.
In order to call something carbon neutral, we must first measure the emissions that it causes, and make a careful documentation on this (GoClimate uses the GHG Protocol to measure the carbon footprint of companies). Then, efforts to reduce the emissions are implemented. This is obviously important because all emissions need to be drastically lowered to save the climate, but also to demonstrate commitment and integrity. Finally, the emissions that for some reason cannot be immediately abated are compensated for by offsetting (see our previous post of types of offsets). It is also important to note that all emissions throughout the life cycle and value chain should be included, not just the emissions from your own chimney.
There are two international standards which define carbon neutrality – ISO 14021 and PAS 2060.
Climate neutral is often used interchangeably with carbon neutral. Some argue that climate neutral distinguishes itself by including all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and not only carbon. However, the common practice is that non-carbon GHG emissions are converted into CO2-equivalents, to make for a fair comparison and easier overview. Therefore, carbon neutral is in practice usually also climate neutral.
What does Net Zero mean?
The IPCC defines net-zero as that point when “anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period”. The Paris Agreement sets out the need to achieve this balance by the second half of this century.
The process for becoming Net Zero is therefore fundamentally similar to being carbon neutral – emissions need to be measured, reduced and balanced. The difference lies in the level of ambition and as a consequence, the execution. The reductions should follow a serious plan to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, which implies reducing emissions by at least 50% every decade. The offsets to compensate for the remaining emissions need to be of the type called permanent removals, which actually binds atmospheric carbon dioxide and stores it with confidence in its stability (see our previous post of types of offsets).
The requirements for what can be classified as Net Zero is an ongoing work, currently driven by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Their comprehensive paper Foundations for Net Zerogives a solid description of the common ground, and which challenges still need to be resolved regarding this concept.
There is currently no common standard definition of climate positive, and sometimes the expression climate negative is even used to define the same idea. This is however built upon the concept of carbon neutral (climate neutral), and means that what it refers to (a product, usually) has been compensated for with more offsets than it actually causes. This means that the product comes with added climate benefits.
Business as usual
In this context, business as usual means to continue operations as if climate change didn’t concern you at all. We can all do better than this!
Hopefully this breakdown made these concepts clearer to you. If there are other terms you come across and would like to see included here, please leave us a comment below!
The Bunch, a group of amazing freeskiers, just released their seventh film “Is there time for matching socks“. During the entire production a main focus was to keep the greenhouse gas emissions down. We talked to The Bunch members Magnus and Alric to get some insights and key learnings on how to make a sustainable film.
The film was shot in Sweden, Norway, France, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and Canada during 171 days and resulted in 41 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That is 459 tonnes below the average film production and probably way below a big screen play’ emissions. So, what did they do differently?
Climate-friendly options for producing films
Hello The Bunch, how did you keep the carbon footprint at a minimum? We mainly ate vegetarian and vegan food resulting in a high intake of potatoes and beetroot salad in Russia :). There’s definitely room for improvement in some countries when it comes to trying to cut down on meat. But overall it was an interesting experience.
We also decided to take the train whenever possible. We travelled to the Alps and back from Stockholm, Sweden twice. And we spent 70-80 hours on Russian trains going to both Kirov and Sochi.
How was your experience spending such a big amount of time on the train? It was a great experience with lots of fun memories. It does of course come with a bit of hustling and it’s more time consuming than travelling by plane, but the benefits outweigh it. Most of our time was spent in the dining car playing cards, talking to Russians and challenging them in arm wrestling. That would not have happened on a plane. It was really memorable and gave us great laughs.
For a 2-3 week long trip, spending a few more days on traveling isn’t a big deal. We really like to fully experience the local culture and not only check in to a hotel, spend days on the mountains without seeing any locals at all and then take the next flight to another mountain. On the opposite, we love to shoot in the middle of the streets in a city, it creates really interesting encounters which wouldn’t have taken place on another set.
In what other ways do you take climate action? Even if this is the first movie production we have calculated the carbon footprint for, we have always been conscious about the way we travel and what we eat. We have turned down offers to go to the US and Japan just to avoid the emissions it would cause. We sell thrifted The Bunch merchandise on our website, we have an Insta account we’re we sell pre-loved stuff as helmets and skiis and we are promoting veggie food and a healthier lifestyle via #healthgangofficial.
We at GoClimate are really impressed by The Bunch showing true leadership within the film industry. Our findings are that emissions caused by a production rarely are taken into consideration and when they are, numbers are not public. They are also great role models within the wintersport world, where transports with planes, helicopters and big cars are causing big amounts of greenhouse gases.
Transportation is the highest emission factor
In this film production the majority of the travels were made by train. The return trip from Sochi, Russia, was done by plane. A few seconds of the movie was shot in Japan by one of the Bunch members, who was there on another assignment. The emissions from that trip were also included in the calculations. The Canada trip was not planned but since there was no snow in Scandinavia and The Bunch’s Hackel was competing in Xgames realski with a tight deadline they made the decision to go there to finish up the X Games video. They filmed some shots for “Is There Time for Matching Socks” in between shooting for Xgames realski. That trip included three round trips from Stockholm to Quebec, which generated a big part of the overall emissions for the film.
The diet consisted of around 30% vegan food, 60% vegetarian food and 10% meat.
The full climate report can be found here. Read more about the carbon footprint of the film industry here.
What’s the carbon footprint from film production and the movie industry? Intrigued by finding out the answer, we at GoClimate partnered up with some of the best freeskiers in the world, The Bunch, to calculate the carbon footprint of their seventh movie Is there time for matching socks. And started to dig into the emissions of the world of film making.
Findings – carbon emissions from creating films
What we found out is that film productions in general do unfortunately not map their carbon footprint. Or, in the cases where the carbon footprint has been calculated, the data has not been made public.
According to a Swedish study all big studios in the US track their carbon footprint, with a couple of them making it public. But, when we dug deeper into this, looking at the carbon footprint of Disney Studios in particular, only the emissions from The Walt Disney Company as a whole is presented. Numbers related to the film production are not separated and publicly available.
We found data from a few recent wintersport films. Burton’s production, One World, had for example a carbon footprint of 1060 tonnes.
Our calculations of The Bunch film production Is there time for matching socks ended up at 41 tonnes. To find out how they manage to keep the emissions so low compared to other films, click here. The full climate report for the film can be found here.
During the summer 2020, we conducted a Swedish and an English survey with ten questions among all the people who offset their carbon footprint with GoClimate. A whopping 620 people participated, corresponding to 13% of our members at that point in time.
According to our English survey, 76% have reduced their carbon footprint since they joined GoClimate. Among other things, they have installed solar panels, they eat less meat, fly less and eat more vegan food than before. 23% say that they have not made any changes to impact their carbon footprint and 0.6% (1 person) say that they have increased their footprint.
In response to the question of how they view their personal carbon footprint, around 90% of the English respondants (80% of the Swedish) state that they are working actively to reduce their footprint. 3% say that they would like to, but don’t know how. Another 4% say that they are not working actively with reducing their footprint. Political actions and financial incentives are mentioned as critical parts to enable necessary lifestyle changes.
Most members are happy with our calculator and the type of projects we support. What we can get better at is providing guidance and support to reduce the carbon footprint. Over 20% didn’t know that we have a blog, where we educate on topics related to the carbon footprint and offer tips for how to reduce the emissions.
The reasons for our members to carbon offset with GoClimate is that it’s easy, that people want to do everything they can for the environment, and because there are parts of the carbon footprint which are hard to amend. Other reasons are that GoClimate is a small organization offering transparency about where the money goes, and that it’s perceived as clear, agile and trustworthy. This is an easy way to make an extra difference for the climate, adding to what is already done in the everyday life by these committed people.
Among the respondents behavioral change was considered important to stop climate change. The answer to the question “How important do you think behavioral change is to stop climate change?” was 8.8 in average on a scale 0-10.
The majority of the respondents found out about us via recommendations and social media. So please keep discussing the climate with friends, tell them about us and share blog posts and our infographics on Instagram.
Find the results of the 2019 member survey on carbon footprint, carbon offsetting and GoClimate here.
One year ago, the GoClimate team set our climate resolutions for 2020 – personal challenges, because for us saving the climate is more than a job, it’s a life mission. This is an overwhelming task, and therefore setting a specific goal to a specific time frame makes it all more approachable. Now we have another new year ahead of us to make better habits for the future!
One of my resolutions for 2020 was to participate in twice as many climate strikes compared to 2019. And then Covid19 happened. For 2021, my resolution will be “Spread the word” – to talk more about the climate crisis and the climate action I am taking via social media and with my friends in order to hopefully inspire others to take action.
My new year’s resolution for this year was to stay on the ground and not travel by plane. It was easier than I had expected and it reduced my carbon footprint with 3.19 tonnes compared to 2019. For 2021, my climate commitment is to move one step closer to a vegan diet. I have been a vegetarian for 10+ years, and for next year my intention is to only eat egg/dairy products when they are served by someone else. That means, at home and at restaurants/cafes I will always choose vegan, but if I’m invited to a dinner I will accept vegetarian food. Curious to see what challenges this will bring me and how I can handle that!
I wish all climate actions came as easy to me as sticking to a vegan diet and not driving a fossil-fuelled car, but staying on the ground is a huge challenge to me. It breaks my heart on a regular basis that catching a flight to London, which I consider my second home, is no longer an option for me as I simply can’t justify the harm it causes the planet. My resolution for 2021 is to look closer into climate friendly alternatives to flying, rather than giving long-distance traveling up altogether (which has been the situation in 2020, needless to say). I’m excited to look in to options by road and rail and aim to make the actual travelling a fun part of the experience too, making it an adventure rather than just a transfer.
My new years resolution for 2021 is to think long-term with all of my purchases. I will only purchase brand-new products if I’m confident I will get at least 5 years of good use out of them.
For 2020, my new year’s resolution was to not buy any new clothes nor electronic devices. I aim to keep that going for the full year of 2021 as well.
I’ll continue sticking to my vegetarian diet, plus avoiding dairy. I will also make sure to cut out beef and lamb when feeding my dog (who’s moving in with Emma in January, welcome to the GoClimate family little one). Whenever I feel the need to buy new items, I make a list of what it is that I “need”. I then give it a week or two before asking myself if I still want or need it? If the answer is still a yes, I research if there are any other ways to achieve what it is that I crave other than making a purchase – perhaps renting or borrowing? Or can it at least be bought second hand? If buying a newly produced item is the only option, I compare alternatives and chose the one with the seemingly lowest climate impact.
By now, it has become evident that almost all of our choices have an impact on the climate. Still, there are some factors that affect our carbon footprint, which we only have a limited ability to choose – the public emissions. These are the emissions caused by society (state, county and municipality), whose benefits we share and whose carbon bill we have to split in between us. Let’s take a closer look at what these are!
A large responsibility that we entrust our states with is to provide safety and justice for its citizens. Therefore, this category includes emissions caused by the police, the judiciary, political activity, environmental protection, and the military. The emissions for this vary widely between countries, and is not regularly disclosed. Some estimates say that the UK military causes 13 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is 195 kg co2e per person. One study from a city in Sweden determined that the emissions from authorities were520 kg co2e per person.
Health and social care
This makes up about 4% of carbon emissions in the largest economies, resulting in an average carbon footprint of healthcare of 600 kg co2e per person. The US is a major outlier here with 1510 kg co2e per capita. On the other hand, since healthcare is largely privatized in the US, the emissions are not shared equally by all citizens. Another area to consider is the care facilities for children, elder and people with special needs. Emissions from social care are difficult to estimate.
This varies significantly between countries, depending on how to account for private education. Data from a study on a city in Sweden shows that the emissions from the education system amount to 220 kg co2e per person. Noting that all education, including universities, is publicly funded Sweden (and school lunch is included), this number could well be both lower or higher in other places.
Recreations, culture and sports
Public spending on these categories vary significantly from country to country and can sometimes, such in the case of world championships or olympic games, soar through the roof. Data from a study on a city in Sweden shows that the emissions from recreations, culture and sports amount to 90 kg co2e per person. This could be a reasonable baseline for a European or north American person, excluding large scale events.
This includes infrastructure maintenance, and construction of roads and tracks. Again, this will vary widely depending on where you live. It fluctuates depending on how much the state invests, so the economic situation is an important determinant. Data from a study on a city in Sweden shows that the emissions from construction are 220 kg co2e per person, however, this can be both lower and higher in other places.
Since public transport is often subsidized by public funds, this post covers the emissions that result from everything other than the emissions per passenger km, which are included in the personal travel category. In Gothenburg, Sweden, public funds cover 50% of the public transport, and there the emissions from public transport reach 50 kg co2e per person. Again, this will vary a lot between places.
… and yet more
There can be more posts for public emissions, varying between place and methodology. This can range from agricultural subsidies or the EU membership fees, to financing the royal family in a monarchy.
It might seem unfair that you are held accountable for road works, when you don’t drive. But remember that this is how food gets to the supermarket, and how other things that you get benefits reach their destinations. It may seem unfair that you are held accountable for the emissions from the education system, or the healthcare system. Regardless, this is the contract that we all agree on as citizens of a state. We are also the ones funding it with our taxes.
Impact society beyond your own emissions
The ability to impact these emissions are more indirect than for our personal consumption. However, if we invest energy in reducing these emissions, our impact goes well beyond our own carbon footprint. Therefore, if we want to take climate change seriously, we need to become active in this sphere too. From the bare minimum of voting for politicians who have ambitious climate action on their agenda, to joining civil society organizations to campaign for green policies. Or maybe even join a party yourself? This effort has to permeate all sectors and everything we do!
Do you work in the education or healthcare system? Maybe you can be the one to raise the question of renewable energy with the board! Do you see something in your community that could be improved? Contact your local representative! This way, we take collective responsibility for the climate and support the democratic process. When we show our commitment, politicians can enforce serious climate policy on the national and international scale. But they will not do it unless we show that this is what we want.
Curious to know more about your carbon footprint? Read the other posts in this series: