Instructions: Click on the buttons inside the tabbed menu, starting with Introduction. View a Users' Guide.

Footprint Calculator with 0 Actions You Can Take

Welcome to the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative's Footprint and Action Calculator! With this Calculator you will be able to estimate your "Carbon Footprint," a measure of how much you and your famility contribute to the production of gases which are believed to contribute to the trend in global warming (Steps 1-3). Also, you will be able to determine which are the best actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on energy (Step 4), and to see a clear picture of the effect of your actions on your footprint (Step 5). We'll also give you some further steps you might consider taking to continue to reduce your footprint in coming years. Overall, we'll give you 0 ideas for reducing your carbon footprint!

Let's get started! First, we'll need a little bit of information about you. (Special note: if you are looking for just the footprint of your building, enter a zero for the number of people and complete only Step 1.)

Please select the number of people residing in your house or apartment.

Next please enter your Zip Code.

Finally, please select your primary source of home heating energy.

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Step 1 or click on this button.


  1. This calculator is intended for use in the U.S. only, and is currently optimized for Massachusetts. We welcome comments and suggestions on this calculator. To contact the author, Stephen C. Gates, Ph.D., please use the contact form.
  2. The carbon footprint portion of the calculator is based upon the calculator provided by the U.S. EPA with some features adapted from those in the Cool California footprint calculator.
  3. We thank the following individuals for their thoughtful comments and suggestions on various earlier versions of this calculator: Scott Ridley, members of the West Falmouth Meeting (Quakers), Kristin Andres, Genie Stevens, Sarah Griscom, Carol Magenau, Susan Starkey, Sandy Bayne, Reb MacKenzie.
  4. We also thank the Cape Light Compact for sharing data with us on energy consumption on the Cape, and the help of Maggie Downey in obtaining this data.
  5. We also very much appreciate sharing of the sea level rise viewer by the Cape Cod Commission, and the help of David Still there in adapting it for the 5Cs site. And our thanks to Erin Perry of the Commision for providing us the list of various techniques they are considering for adaptation (on Step 6 of this calculator).

Household Energy

Whether you own or rent your dwelling, the energy needed to light, heat and power your home can be very substantial. Almost all homes use electricity for lighting and to power various appliances, but the source of energy for heating varies widely. In this step, we'll take a look at what types of power you use. Before starting, we suggest you find your latest utility bills (gas, electricity, oil, etc.) and use them to answer the questions below. Note that many energy suppliers now give a full one-year history of your energy consumption. If your supplier does not do so, please call them to request this, since your energy consumption can vary widely by season.

Special note: If you use natural gas, be sure to notice whether your supplier reports your numbers in therms or thousand cubic feet!

Energy Source

Natural Gas

Electricity (include electric vehicles)

Fuel Oil


What percent of your electricity
comes from "green" sources
(wind, solar, hydrothermal, etc.)?

Amount used in last year



Kilowatt Hours



Here are some interesting data from the EIA showing how home energy use has changed over the years.

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Step 2 or click on this button.

Pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from Home Energy


Total pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from all sources



The vehicles you use for transportation can also be an very important source of greenhouse gas production. In this section, you'll find out the total impact transportation has on your carbon footprint. If you use more than 5 vehicles, please enter the five with the most mileage driven. Then enter the number of miles you travel each year via public transportation, and via air.

Special note for electric vehicle owners: Please enter the electricity consumed by your vehicle in Step 1, and do not list your vehicle here because it does not consume fossil fuels directly.


Vehicle 1

Vehicle 2

Vehicle 3

Vehicle 4

Vehicle 5

Public Transportation

Air Transportation

Miles Per Year

Miles per Gallon

Here is some interesting information on energy use by transportation from the National Academies:

"The United States uses 28% of its total energy each year to move people and goods from one place to another. The transportation sector includes many modes, from personal vehicles and large trucks to public transportation (buses, trains) to airplanes, freight trains, ships and barges, and pipelines. By far the largest share is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles-about 58% in 2013, followed by other trucks (23%), aircraft (8%), boats and ships (4%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 4%."

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Step 3 or click on this button.

Pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from Household Vehicles


Total pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from all sources


Other Energy (Indirect)

While our home energy and transportation energy usage is directly observable every time we pay our energy bills, other uses of energy are less obvious. For example, if we buy food, we usually don't think about the energy consumed in the production of that food (by the farmer, the transportation system, the grocer). But these less obvious, or indirect, costs are nonetheless quite real. We'll first consider goods and services, then food.

Consumer Goods and Services

We all consume both goods and services, each of which requires energy to produce and transport. Your individual consumption of these is very difficult to measure. So we'll try to estimate these energy uses based on your location. (Currently, we use only Cape Cod, Massachusetts and U.S. averages).

Based on your zip code, which places you in U.S., your Goods footprint is approximately 0 and your Services footprint is approximately 0 pounds CO2 equivalent per year.


For each person in your household (entered on the first tab), please tell us which diet best describes their eating habits by clicking on the radio button underneath that diet. If there are more than 5 people in your household, please enter data on the 5 largest people.

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Step 4 or click on this button.

Pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from Food, Goods & Services


Total pounds of CO2 equivalents per year from all sources


Estimates for the impact of different types of diets come from Shrink That Footprint. The Goods and the Services data come from Cool California.

Image sources: Meat Lover, Average, No-Beef, Vegetarian, Vegan

See How You Did

Great! Now that you've done all the calculations, let's see how your footprint looks, and what remains as your challenge for the future. Please note that you can "mouse over" any portion of the graph to see the numbers.

Here is what each column shows:

Note: All data should be viewed as approximate, not exact, in part because your circumstances are likely to be different than those of a "typical" U.S. consumer.

Here is the same data in tabular form.

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Additional Steps or click on this button.

Note: graphs are based on U.S. averages. If you'd like to see averages at the Zip Code level, please refer to Cool California interactive map of Average Annual Household Carbon Footprint by Zip Code.

0 Additional Actions you Could Take to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

If you need additional ideas for actions you can take, here they are! These differ from the ideas in Step 4 because we don't have cost data, or footprint impact data, or both. However, we have tried to rank these ideas for you so that you can see which ones we think have the most impact. You can sort this list by estimated impact, by the type of idea it is, or by the season using the buttons below.

Sort by Estimated Climate Impact      Sort by Season

Click the buttons below to select/deselect categories within the table (green=selected).


Around the home:

Group actions:

Adaption to climate change:

 Select/Deselect items of interest to youth.   


  1. EWLD = Energy Wise Landscape Design by Sue Reed, New Society Publishers, 2010. This book includes a whole series of interesting ideas about using landscaping to reduce home energy costs.
  2. STF =
  3. DD = Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, Edited by Paul Hawken, Penguin Books, 2017. This book looks at how we might get to the point where the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere actually starts decreasing. A good book for your coffee table, too.
  4. TGH = true green home, 100 inspirational ideas for creating a green environment at home, by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin, National Geographic Society, 2008. Good practical guide.
  5. ST = Stanley Home Energy Savings, 2015, Taunton Press. This is a handy-sized guide to energy savings with lots of information on how to perform various energy-saving tasks.
  6. CYEBN = Cut your Energy Bills Now. 150 smart ways to save money and make your home more comfortable and green. Bruce Harley, The Taunton Press, 2008. Another good practical guide.
  7. ESH = The Energy-Smart House, by the editors of Fine Homebuilding, Taunton Press, 2001. A detailed look at advanced techniques for saving energy.
  8. EEHD = Energy Efficient Homes for Dummies by Rik DeGunter, Wiley Publishing, 2008. This book has a particularly good set of information in the first few chapters about how to think about energy efficiency investments.

0 Actions you Could Take to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Annual Savings
Beginning This Year

Pounds of CO2(e) saved

Upfront cost to you

Average savings (green) or cost (red)

Save $

Save CO2

Zip Code: 

Instructions: Start by using the slider above to tell us how you balance saving money vs. reducing your carbon footprint, then enter your zip code (used only to tell the rebates for which you are eligible). The table shows several actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Select the ones you wish by clicking the "Yes!" button. Click "Done" if you've already taken the action, and "No" if it's not one you wish to take.

Saved (Annually) by
Previous Actions

Pounds of CO2(e) saved

Upfront cost to you

Average savings (green) or cost (red)

Note: In Step 5 we'll show how previous actions have already reduced your footprint.

Click the buttons below to select/deselect topics within the table.

When you are done, please select the tab at the top for Step 5 or click on this button.


  1. Categories in green are home energy; categories in blue are transportation.
  2. Amounts shown are approximate, for 1 year, and based on the savings for an 'average' consumer (your results may be different). In particular, energy costs assume you live in the Northeast U.S.
  3. CO2(e) is CO2 Equivalents, which attempts to integrate the different effects and lifetimes of common greenhouse gases. For a full discussion, please see: this EPA report
  4. Asterisked items have had a (non-scientific) CO2 value assigned by the author.
  5. Rebate amounts will vary depending upon the equipment purchased and other factors. For additional rebates and details of the rebates shown, go to Cape Light Compact (Cape Cod & Martha's Vineyard) or Mass Save (Massachusetts) sites.
  6. Vehicle prices listed here generally assume a significant trade-in value for your existing car.