Calculating University Community's Ecological Footprint

July 04, 2007 - Campus Bulletin

U of G is working with Zerofootprint on a cutting-edge initiative that will provide members of the University community the opportunity to measure their ecological footprint and reduce the collective impact on the environment.

Set to launch in the fall, the initiative involves a web-based calculator that people can use to estimate and analyze the impact daily activities such as car travel and electricity use are having on the environment. Zerofootprint also provides users with suggestions on ways to diminish their footprint so they can then set goals and track their successes online.

“No one is in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities the Zerofootprint calculator presents than the University,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “The calculator is a way to take social action online. Change has always been about the individual acting as part of a collective – that’s what the calculator allows.”

Before the official launch, U of G is asking faculty, staff, students and alumni to visit the Zerofootprint website to test out the calculator and provide feedback.

The online tool is unique because it not only calculates a person’s carbon footprint, but it also determines their land, water and tree footprint. For example the calculator shows users how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere based on the distance their food has travelled or how much land and water is required to sustain their diet.

As part of the initiative, the information obtained from the University community will be compiled and a total environmental impact will be measured. With the help of Zerofootprint, U of G will determine ways of reducing its collective footprint.

“We believe launching a massive bottom up green initiative like this one will be a huge success given the grass roots leadership that University of Guelph students have already demonstrated with its energy retrofit program,” said Ron Dembo, founder and chief executive officer of Zerofootprint.

To test out the Zerofootprint calculator

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1