EPA's Web Tool Allows Consumers to Understand How Their Energy Use Impacts Air Pollution

With just a few clicks of the mouse and a zip code, consumers can see how their individual energy use is affecting the Earth. EPA's Power Profiler calculates how much air pollution results from individual electricity use, the fuels used to produce that electricity and how to reduce the impact.

"EPA's Power Profiler makes it easy to research the air emissions that come from using electricity at home," said Bob Meyers, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "All you need is a ZIP code and you're on your way to understanding your environmental impact."

EPA announced on June 28 that its Web-based Power Profiler has been updated with recently released data on emissions and fuels. In addition to learning the emissions from their individual electricity use, users can see how they compare with national averages.

The air pollutants used in the calculator are carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). CO2 contributes to global warming or climate change, while NOx and SO2 contribute to unhealthy air quality and acid rain in many parts of the country.

Power Profiler displays the fuel mix in percent coal, oil, gas, nuclear, hydro-electric (water), and other renewable sources including biomass, wind, solar, geothermal and landfill gas.

With information from the calculator on their monthly electricity use, consumers can assess their annual emissions. The site also guides users to other Web-based information showing how to reduce emissions from one's home or business through greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

Power Profiler uses information from EPA's Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID), a comprehensive source of data on the environmental characteristics of nearly all electric power generated in the United States.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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