Spotlight On: Personal Energy Meter

National Geographic's new initiative, The Great Energy Challenge, seeks to educate the masses about energy use, carbon emissions, and environmental issues relating to fresh water, air, and the ocean. As part of this outreach effort, the organization is offering an interactive tool called a "Personal Energy Meter" that measures an individual's energy use and subsequent contribution to carbon emissions. (Click here to use that tool.)

The tool will compare your energy use to others', and inform you on how choices you make at home and in the way you travel could help to protect the atmosphere.

Here's our score at Better Farm:

Your Final Tally—3.79 tons of CO2 per year

You have completed all the questions.
42 people have taken the Challenge. The average score is 51.
You scored 54 percent lower than the regional average and 62 percent lower than the national average.

This meter measures your personal energy score based on the decisions you make in your home and in travel. It's different from some per-person calculations you may have seen, which factor in each nation's total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, including those from industrial and commercial activities. To see what those total per-capita emissions look like in the United States and around the world, see our global carbon map.

See Personal Energy Meter sources »
Click on any question again to change your values.

Your Individual Tallies
  • In the Home: 1.774Tip: A programmable thermostat can help you easily turn down energy use when you are away or asleep.
    For ideas on how to reduce your impact at home, visit the Great Energy Challenge Mini Calculators.
  • On the Road: 2.219Tip: Use mass transit, ride sharing or a bicycle at least a couple days a week to cut down energy while commuting.
    For a month-by-month plan to slim down your carbon emissions on the road, in the home, and for everyday living, visit our Energy Diet.
  • Renewable Energy: 29%Tip: See if your utility allows you to purchase solar or wind energy for a portion of your electricity use.
  • In the Air: 1.349Tip: Consider taking a train instead of a plane for shorter trips.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.