- 03 May 2021
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# Carbon Equivalents Calculator

- Updated on 03 May 2021
- 1 Minute to read

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### Use this handy tool to calculate carbon equivalencies

Did you ever wonder what reducing energy use (kWh) means in everyday terms in Nova Scotia? So do your community stakeholders. This carbon equivalencies calculator can help you translating abstract energy-related measurements into concrete terms your audience can understand, such as the annual emissions from trees or cars.

#### How we did it

**Carbon Intensity**

To calculate carbon intensity, we used the emission intensity of electricity production in Nova Scotia: an average 650 grams of CO2 equivalent per kWh (as of 2017, from Nova Scotia Power).

**Trees**

To calculate the CO2 equivalent from trees we chose the ecologically and commercially vital red spruce—our provincial tree! A typical red spruce growing in Nova Scotia can sequester approximately 9.94 kg of CO2 per year.

This calculation is based on the Department of Lands and Forestry’s system of permanent sample plots (PSPs), which are re-measured every five years. The change in carbon stored between PSP measurements is converted to an annual carbon sequestration rate for calculation purposes. Carbon sequestration is then converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration by multiplying by the ratio of their atomic weights (i.e., 44/12).

The total carbon stored in an individual tree is calculated by its diameter at breast height (DBH) using equations from Lambert et al. 2005 and Li et al. 2003. This estimate is based on an average sized tree (i.e., 20 cm DBH) growing in a fully stocked wilderness stand (i.e. a closed canopy) with average soil productivity.

**Cars**

To calculate the CO2 equivalent from kilometres driven, we used an average from three of the most popular vehicle models in Canada according to driving.ca (the Honda Civic, the Ford F150 and the Toyota RAV4).

**Download the calculator here:**