Carbon footprint of 20 Hungarian families measured in Piliscsaba

GreenDependent Institute, in cooperation with the Piliscsaba-Garancstető Advocacy Association, assessed the carbon footprint of the lifestyles of 20 households. The aim of the project implemented with the financial support of Daikin Hungary is to make citizens aware that lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the environmental impact of households. And the reduction is inevitable, as the average carbon footprint of Hungarians is twice as high as the sustainable level.

In 2020, August 22 was the Earth Overshoot Day, by which time humanity has run out of the Earth’s renewable resources in that year. Although this date is more than three weeks later than in 2019, further efforts are needed to ensure ecological balance. At the request of the Piliscsaba-Garancstető Association, GreenDependent Institute calculated the annual carbon footprint of 20 families in Piliscsaba. The primary goal of the project, implemented with the financial support of Daikin Hungary, is to raise awareness to the fact that a lifestyle change of citizens is inevitable in reducing environmental impact and more efficient energy use. Known for its high-quality cooling and heating systems, Daikin is a committed believer in sustainable development. On one hand, Daikin places great emphasis on reducing its own CO2 emissions while creating products and solutions that minimize CO2 emissions and energy use for their partners as well.

Research methodology

As part of the project, GreenDependent Institute calculated the annual carbon footprint of 20 families. The 20 families filled an online questionnaire themselves. The contributors        of the household carbon footprint were divided into 6 main categories: (1) household energy consumption; (2) transport; (3) leisure, vacation; (4) meals; (5) products; and (6) public services. This survey focused only on the first four categories.

Energy consumption accounts for one third of household carbon footprints

Based on the results, a total of 81 members of the families involved in the research had an average carbon footprint of 4.27 tons of CO2 in 2019, which is about twice the sustainable level. One third of the carbon footprint of surveyed households comes from energy consumption, partly because of the poor energy condition/level of the houses, partly  because of the careless/wasteful personal energy use. The next most determining factors are travel, vacations, and meals, which are responsible for about 20-20 percent of families’ carbon footprints. Daily travel is less than one-sixth of the footprint, and regular travel is only half of that. The annual carbon footprint of the members of examined families is about 4.3 tons, which is very close to the annual 5 tons per capita of average Hungarians  in a year.

Custom solutions are needed

The key message of the survey is that the composition of household carbon footprints can vary greatly from family to family, so each family should also apply their own individual solutions to reduce it. The sustainable level of emissions is 2-2.5 tons of CO2 per capita in a year, which is significantly exceeded by the average carbon footprint of both the families participating in the survey, and Hungarians in overall (5 tons / person). It is therefore essential to introduce further eco-conscious measures and apply individual solutions in the future.

The carbon calculator of GreenDependent Institute, as well as the webpage ‘Kislábnyom’ summarizing practical tips for reducing carbon footprints could be of great help  of Hungarians considering a lifestyle change. In reducing energy consumption of households Daikin Hungary could also be a very valuable partner.