Q&A with Julia from Carbon Calculator

Hi Community,

I’m Julia and I’m the product manager for the carbon calculator. It’s a new product that helps you work out your carbon footprint, then offset it by supporting carbon reduction projects around the world. I’m excited to be answering some of your questions this week, with help from Shaunagh Duncan, our renewable energy manager. Shaunagh manages carbon offsetting for Bulb, and oversees the data and calculations behind the calculator.

When I joined Bulb in January, the carbon calculator was still in its beta phase. Since then, we’ve introduced monthly payments, and made it possible for members offsetting with us to manage their carbon footprint in their Bulb account. We’ve also added fun new illustrations, and redesigned the footprint results page. And a couple of weeks ago, we added a new tile in some members’ Bulb accounts to start promoting the new product.

One of our missions at Bulb is to lower carbon emissions. So we want to help people understand how much CO2e is created from their daily lives, and give them a way to do something about it. Not many people know about the calculator right now and that’s what we’re working to change.

Offsetting won’t fix the climate crisis on its own. But it’s a positive, impactful way to help the climate right away.

I’m here to answer your questions about the calculator, offsetting and what it’s like working at Bulb. We’d love you to try out the carbon calculator too, and look forward to hearing your feedback and any ways you think we can make it better.

Thanks,

Julia

1 Like

Hi there, I’ve been looking for somewhere that shows all your offsetting projects as I’d want to know exactly where the money I’m paying to offset goes, is there any where I can find this?

How does this reflect changes in usage, if I haven’t flown anywhere in the past year and my footprint is really low, that might not be the same next month if I got say 6 flights? (I wish)

Hi Maddy,

I can understand that, I’d want to know where my money is going too. We’re working on a page that explains just that, and it should go live next week. When it does, we’ll link to it on the calculator page on the Bulb website.

For now, I can tell you that our current projects are:

  • Generating renewable electricity from wind turbines and solar farms across India
  • Keeping trees standing that lock up and store CO2 in Sierra Leone
  • Developing the market for clean cookstoves in Ghana and Kenya, lowering emissions from traditional cooking methods
  • Replacing coal with biogas for cooking in rural China

Thanks for asking!

Julia

Hi Jack,

We’ve designed the calculator to estimate the size of your carbon footprint over the last year. Several of the questions ask about activities in the past 12 months, like how many flights you took and how much you spent on technology. Other questions focus on what you normally do, like how often you eat eggs, for example.

We want to help people work out the size of their carbon footprint. We’ve done some clever calculations to estimate this and keep it simple. Then we help people understand which habits add the most to their carbon footprint, and balance it out through offsetting. That’s the most effective way to have an immediate impact.

Of course, we can all do more by changing our behaviours too. It just takes longer. So we want to invite people to do both.

We’ve got lots of exciting ideas for the future, like top-up payments for new flights, and reducing people’s payments if they’re not currently with a renewable supplier and then they switch to green energy with Bulb.

If you have any ideas on this topic, let me know. I’m always on the lookout for ways we can make the calculator even better.

Thanks,

Julia

Hi Julia,

How does this work for businesses, if I work for a company that contributes to releasing CO2 then surely that’s also part of my footprint?

Thanks :blush:

Hi Ricky,

You’re right, our calculator doesn’t currently cover emissions from your place of work. We could include all kinds of things there, like office lighting, printing and recycling. It’d be tricky to include those though, as they’d vary so much from person to person.

We’ve thought a lot about what to include and what to leave out in the calculator. More than anything we wanted to keep it simple, so the results are an estimate. But it’s a good indication of how much your daily life impacts the planet.

Thanks,

Julia