Collaborative Filtering and Carbon Footprint Calculation

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2010 International Symposium on Sustainable Systems and Technology (ISSST)


Computer Science


An increasingly common way for people to measure and understand their individual environmental impact is by using an online carbon footprint calculator. Although a wide variety of these calculators are available, the vast majority shares the same form of user interaction and calculation methods, limiting the reach of these tools and introducing a number of problems for informing users of their environmental impact. We find that the interaction afforded by popular calculators-in addition to considering only a limited number of impact factors at a single instant in time-treats a person's carbon footprint as an individual matter, rather than drawing attention to the interconnectivity and wider impacts of footprints across the person's broader community. To address these problems, we present the Better Carbon calculator, which uses collaborative filtering and location-based calculation to provide an individual footprint estimate while simultaneously affecting and improving the estimates for other people in a user's community.