Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Update on Commons Co-op

For the past couple of weeks, my Research and Service group has been doing a fair amount of work on the Commons Co-op. We have finished our analysis of the electricity consumption at the school and are now working on converting these figures into CO2 emissions. The work is rather difficult and more than a little frustrating. When we research online and use various calculators on the web, they never list the assumptions in the model nor do they provide the equations on which these calculators are based. Unless you can see the assumption in a model, it does not make much sense to use it nor can you justify its use in making various forecasts.

One group of students has come up with the goal of eliminating our carbon emissions by planting trees. We have secured the land to plant the trees and are now working on calculating the carbon absorption of various species. This is also a difficult process because of the simple linear equations that most models use in the calculations that most use. Thus, our figures over how much CO2 we are actually capturing over the course of ten years can be off by several orders of magnitude. This raises a couple of interesting questions about CO2 credits and trading them in futures markets. Just what is it that we are trading? It is important to make sure that your actually making a difference rather than just making yourself feel good about trying to solve the problem.


Post a Comment

<< Home