How SolvingZero calculates CO2 emissions

Depending on who you ask there are a few ways that CO2 emissions can be calculated for your home, and the energy provider you use.

Sam Bendat

Mar 09, 2024

SolvingZero Emissions explained featured image

Grid energy in Australia for VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, ACT and TAS is connected to one giant network called the National Energy Market or NEM.

All the energy generated by every coal plant, solar farm and hydro dam is sent into this giant grid for us to use. This giant mix of energy is where the headaches start when considering carbon emissions.

Depending on where you sit, trying to figure out the emissions for a home through different methods can bring wildly different results.

One single truth: it does matter at what time you use energy

During the afternoon, when the sun is at its peak, most of the energy in the grid is solar energy. Late at night, when there's no sun or little wind, coal produces a lot of our power.

Given that we all get our energy from this giant grid, your house is being powered by whatever mix of energy is available at that given time, be it renewables or fossil fuels.

Unless you live in a microgrid that is able to be powered by a local energy source the simple fact is we are all getting a mix of renewables and fossil fuel energy from the same giant grid.

There are ways to balance your emissions with some creative energy accounting

Through participating in GreenPower programs or trying only to use a greener energy provider, there is a solid argument that you are investing your money into programs and companies that are, in fact, greener!

However, the actual accounting for how carbon is counted has mystified many with minimal regulatory oversight. So it is hard to pinpoint exact figures on how much good or bad one home is doing vs another.

It's more generalisations that by investing your money into a renewable energy program or company, you are playing some part in helping Australia go greener. The thing is, it's very difficult to calculate that exact impact, but it's greater than zero!

How SolvingZero calculates carbon emissions

At the moment, we calculate carbon emissions based on the more straightforward methodology. As we use energy, the mix of energy we consume will impact how much carbon we emit at that given time. It's a 1 to 1 relationship for the actual carbon emitted from the grid at that moment.

In fear of over or underestimating carbon emissions based on the energy provider, we will consider how to best implement greener providers and programs into the final carbon emissions calculations.

As we outlined before there is currently no perfect system to do this but that won't stop us from taking a crack at it.


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