If you are lucky enough to have some funding, then you could commission a carbon footprint of your community from an organisation that offers this service. Ambleside commissioned Small World Consulting to undertake a study of their area, as you’ll see below. The cost of this is a few hundred pounds.
Alternatively, you could take the approach that Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral took in assessing their village’s carbon footprint. They worked with the University of Chester to develop a simple carbon footprint calculator for households. Students from the university went to households to help them complete the calculator and then collated all the results to develop a household carbon footprint for the village.
Households then completed the calculators each year to show how their carbon emissions had changed. The figures were collated to show how the household carbon footprint of the village overall had changed. You can learn more about how they did this at the Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral website along with other information about how to get started.
If you like the approach taken in Ashton Hayes, but want to use a more up-to-date carbon footprint calculator, you don’t have to develop your own. There are many free online carbon calculators available. Here are a few:
There are some limitations in using an online carbon calculator. They are all slightly different and give different results, depending upon the questions asked and the data behind these. They also don’t provide easy ways to share the information, so it is more difficult to collate data from multiple households to arrive at a total for the community, so you would need to plan how you could do this. However, using these could provide a free means of estimating the carbon footprint of households in the community.