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Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator

This straightforward calculator provides conversions from one unit of energy to the equivalent amount of CO2 emission expected from using that amount.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Do an equivalency example for students to get them started.
  • Teacher will need to introduce vocab and units of measure for students unfamiliar with this.
  • Ideas for extending the activity: link to other calculators - this could be used as a science fair project or service learning project for high school students to bring to their community.

About the Science

  • The greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator can be used to translate abstract measurements into concrete terms you can understand, such as "equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide emissions of 183,000 cars annually." There are two options: 1. Converting units such as kilowatts or gallons of gasoline into CO2 equivalents, or 2. Converting CO2 emissions or CO2 equivalents (or other GHG such as methane) into equivalency statements such as "equal to" gallons of gasoline consumed, number of trees planted, etc.
  • This calculator may be useful in communicating greenhouse gas reduction strategy, reduction targets, or other initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator provides a very student-friendly, intuitive interface for translating both energy uses and GHG emissions into concrete terms that are familiar to students and their communities. As a stand-alone tool with no learning objectives and only one sentence of conceptual explanation, its scientific value in teaching climate and energy concepts is highly dependent on how it's integrated by teachers into student learning activities and curricula.

About the Pedagogy

  • This calculator can be used in two ways: the first allows users to convert units from commonly used terms to generate emissions data; the second allows users to take quantities as reported in scientific data or reports and and convert them into emissions data.
  • Includes questions that can be used as extension.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Teachers will need to guide students in how to use this calculator.

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