Emissions Estimations

The estimation of carbon emissions produced by an IQP is a crucial first step in being able to understand, minimize and offset them. Below is an overview of the carbon emissions case study conducted on the PRPC and the carbon emission calculator tool our team developed for students on IQP in Puerto Rico.  

Case Study:

A case study of total emissions produced by the Puerto Rico Project Center was conducted by our team for the seven weeks we were abroad. This case study broke the PRPC’s emissions into three main categories: air travel, project-related ground travel, and living accommodations. Below is a brief breakdown of the methodologies used to produce emissions estimates for each category. 

Air Travel:

  1. Student survey data was used to determine flight routes (Connecting Airports). 
  1. Airport arrival and departure data was plugged into ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator to produce estimates for each individual. 
  1. The average flight emissions per person was calculated and extrapolated to determine a round trip emissions estimate for air travel. 

Project Related Ground Travel: 

  1. Student survey data was used to determine the frequency, distance, and mode of transportation used by each IQP group over the course of a week. 
  1. Average fuel efficiency and fuel burn to CO2 conversions are used to determine a weekly estimate for each IQP group. 
  1. Weekly estimates are extrapolated over seven (or six?) weeks and summed to calculate the total emissions estimate for project related ground travel. 

Living Accommodations: 

  1. Annual energy usage data and floor plan dimensions are collected from hotel staff. 
  1. The Puerto Rico energy profile is determined. 
  1. Data recorded from steps 1 and 2 is plugged into the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) excel tool to estimate the carbon emissions produced per room per night at the hotel we stayed at. 1 
  1. This estimate is then multiplied by the number of rooms occupied by WPI and the number of nights stayed to produce the overall emissions estimate for living accommodations. 

1The estimation was cross-checked against 3-star hotel emission case studies to verify the validity

PRPC Emissions Calculator:

The team developed an emissions calculator for the PRPC IQP experience that allows students to estimate the carbon emissions they produce on their trip. The calculator follows the same logic as our emissions case study and is broken down into air travel, ground travel, and living accommodation sub calculators. The values generated by each of the sub calculators are summed together to produce an overall estimate for an IQP. It is designed to require minimal user input while still producing accurate results. See the PRPC Emissions Calculator Documentation for more information on calculation steps, assumptions, and data sources. 


Estimate Emissions With our Calculator: