FAQs


1. Is electricity generation the #1 source of greenhouse gases in the United States?

Yes.  Nearly 33% of all greenhouse gases produced in the U.S. are from electricity generation. The other major categories are transportation (28%), and industry (20%).

2. How does using the Emission Information app help me reduce my carbon footprint?

The app enables consumers get information about which days and times are best — or “cleanest” — to run home appliances, which require a lot of electricity to operate. , so you can shift  your energy use and lower your carbon footprint. You can even track your actions and compare your efforts to others.

3. How does using the Emission Information app work? 

Electricity is generated in a variety of ways — electrical plants fueled by coal, oil, gas, nuclear and renewable energy are the main methods — and emission volume (carbon) vary considerably by method.  When electricity is provided to a specific geography or service area, the mix of how it was generated at any given time determines how “clean” the electricity is.  The Emission Information app provides consumers with a forecast of how much carbon is emitted into the air, based on the types of electricity generation scheduled for distribution in a certain geography, at a certain time.  When consumers have access to this information through the app, they can select the ‘cleanest’ time to use electricity, and reduce their carbon footprint.

4. What is my carbon footprint from electricity use?

When fossil fuels — coal, oil, gas — are burned in the production of electricity, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides are released into the air, as are other heavy metals and particulate matter. A carbon footprint represents the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a certain organization, event, product, or person.

5. Why are there more emissions in certain times versus other times?

When electricity is provided to your service area, the mix of how it was generated at any given time determines how “clean” the electricity is.  Coal-fueled plants emit the most carbon per unit of electricity generated, although every plant is different and broad variances exist.  Oil-fueled and natural gas-fueled plants emit, on average, between 40% and 70% of a coal-fueled facility.  Nuclear units and renewable generators emit zero carbon dioxide.

6. How does the app calculate the amount of carbon I save?

It is estimated.  When you use home appliances during one of the cleaner time periods, the amount of savings is estimated as the difference between the carbon intensity during your chosen time period and the average carbon intensity for the five­‐day period shown for your service area, multiplied by the amount of electricity used by the appliance during a typical weekly cycle.

7. How does the app calculate the emission savings in terms of trees planted or auto miles driven?

It is estimated.  The EPA and other agencies have calculated the average amount of carbon added or taken out of the atmosphere from various activities.  When you use home appliances during one of the cleaner time periods, the carbon “saved” by your active choice is represented in terms of these measures.