Measuring Household Carbon Footprint: Population-Specific Adaptation and Validation of a Tool for South Asia

  • Kasuni Kalubowila National Programme for Tuberculosis Control and Chest Diseases, Ministry of Health, Colombo 05,
  • Parakrama Karunaratne Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.
  • Buddhika Yapa Sanken Construction (pvt) ltd, Colombo 14, Sri Lanka.
  • Carukshi Arambepola Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Keywords: carbon footprint, factor analysis, greenhouse gases


The effects of climate change occur across the globe. Without reducing the greenhouse gases through drastic action today, adapting to these untoward effects of it will be challenging and costly. Therefore, estimation of the green-house gases is a prime importance. However, there are no studies conducted in South Asian households and individuals partly due to the non-availability of a validated tool.  Therefore, this study aims to validate a screening tool to assess the carbon footprint (CFP) of residents in a Sri Lankan household (HH). The 28-item Resources and Energy Analysis Program (REAP) Calculator which was originally developed in United Kingdom was initially translated, population specific adapted using modified Delphi process with a panel of 10 experts and assessed for judgmental validity. Construct validity was assessed among 210 HHs by performing exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis. Reliability was assessed using the test-retest method and internal consistency. After four rounds of Delphi techniques and validation, 20-item CFP-SL tool was found to be valid and reliable for assessing the CFP both urban and rural HHs. Five-factor model of 20 items was identified as explaining 64.3% of the total observed variance. It showed a stable factor structure (RMSEA=0.181, CFI=0.850, NNFI=0.813, SRMR =0.085, GFI=0.643) and reliability (internal consistency of 0.87). Therefore, Sinhala version of the CFP-SL tool is a valid and reliable tool to assess the CFP in urban and rural Sri Lankan HHs.  


[1] Barrett B, Charles JW, Temte JL., Climate change, human health, and epidemiological transition. Preventive medicine. 2015; 70:69-75.
[2] International Standards Organisation, Greenhouse Gases: Part 1 Specification with Guidance at the Organization Level for Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals. 2006.
[3] East AJ. What is a Carbon Footprint? An overview of definitions and methodologies. InVegetable industry carbon footprint scoping study—Discussion papers and workshop, 2008.
[4] Carbon Trust. Carbon Footprint Measurement Methodology. The Carbon Trust, London, UK. 2007. Available at: Accessed on 20th January 2021
[5] Wiedmann T, & Minx JA. definition of ‘carbon footprint’. Ecological Economics Research Trends, 2008: 1, 1-11.
[6] Padgett JP, Steinemann AC, Clarke JH & Vandenbergh MPA. comparison of carbon calculators. Environmental impact assessment review, 2008: 28(2-3), 106-115.
[7] Pandey D, Agrawal M & Pandey JS. Carbon footprint: current methods of estimation. Environmental monitoring and assessment, 2011: 178(1), 135-160.
[8] Presidential Task Force on Energy Demand Side Management, Carbon calculator for school children. 2017, Available at: Accessed on 20th January 2021.
[9] Ramachandra TV, Shwetmala K & Dania TM. Carbon Footprint of the Solid Waste Sector in Greater Bangalore, India. In Assessment of Carbon Footprint in Different Industrial Sectors, Springer, 2014, 1 (265-292).
[10] Awanthi MGG & Navaratne CM. Assessment of per-capita carbon footprint: A case study, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna. Proceedings of the 8th Academic Sessions, University of Ruhuna, 2010: Vol. 8. Oral Abstracts
[11] Awanthi MGG & Navaratne CM. Carbon footprint of an organization: a case study, faculty of agriculture, university of Ruhuna. In Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, 2012: Vol. 15.
[12] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Calculator. Available on:
[13] Calculator for Households and Individuals. Available on:
[14] The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Carbon Footprint Calculator. Available on:
[15] Conversation International Calculator. Available on:
[16] Carbon Independent Calculator
Available on:
[17] Know CO2 Now- Personal Carbon Footprint Calculator
Available on:
[18] REAP (Resources and Energy Analysis Program) Petite Calculator.
Available on:
[19] Salo M & Mattinen MK. Carbon footprint calculators for citizens: Recommendations and implications in the Nordic Context. Nordic Council of Ministers, 2017.
[20] Birnik A. An evidence-based assessment of online carbon calculators. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control, 2013: 17, 280-293
[21] West SE, Owen A, Axelsson K & West CD. Evaluating the use of a carbon footprint calculator: Communicating impacts of consumption at household level and exploring mitigation options. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2016: 20(3), 396-409.
[22] Bryant FB & Yarnold PR. Principal-components analysis and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. In G. Laurence, & R. Yarnold, Reading and understanding multivariate statistics, 1995: (pp. 99-136). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association
[23] Revicki DA, Cook KF, Amtmann D, Harnam N, Chen WH & Keefe FJ. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the PROMIS pain quality item bank. Quality of Life Research, 2014: 23(1), 245-255.
[24] Kaiser HF. The application of electronic computers to factor analysis. Educational and psychological measurement, 1960.
[25] Tabachnick BG & Fidell LS. Multivariate analysis of variance and covariance. Using Multivariate Statistics, 2007: 3, 402-407.
[26] Abramson JH & Abramson ZH. Survey Methods in Community Medicine.5th ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 1999.
[27] Department of Census and Statistics, Household income and expenditure survey, 2016, Available at: Accessed on 8th January 2021
[28] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories, 2006, Available at: Accessed on 8th January 2021
[29] Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Scenario Building to Test and Inform the Development of a BSI Method for Assessing GHG Emissions from Food. Research Project Final Report, 2009, FO0404. London: DEFRA,
[30] MacCallum RC, Widaman KF, Zhang S & Hong S. Sample size in factor analysis. Psychological Methods, 1999: 4(1), pp. 84-99.
[31] Joreskog K & Sorbom D. LISREL. Chicago, IL: Scientific Software International, 2004.
[32] Litwin M. The Survey Kit: How to measure survey reliability and validity. California: Sage, 1995.
[33] Grunewald N, Harteisen M, Lay J, Minx J & Renner S. The carbon footprint of Indian households. In 32nd General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, 2012, (pp. 5-11).
[34] Department of Census and Statistics, Concepts and definitions, 2001, Available at: Accessed on 8th January 2021
[35] Streiner DL. Figuring out factors: The use and misuse of factor analysis. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 1994: 39, pp 135 - 140.
[36] Carlsson-Kanyama A. & González AD. Potential contributions of food consumption patterns to climate change. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009: 89(5), 1704S-1709S.
[37] McMichael AJ, Powles JW, Butler CD & Uauy R. Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health. The Lancet, 2007: 370(9594), 1253-1263.
[38] McGain F, Story D, Kayak E, Kashima Y & McAlister S. Workplace sustainability: the “Cradle to Grave” view of what we do. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 2012: 114(5), pp.1134-1139.
[39] Bhoyar SP, Dusad S, Shrivastava R, Mishra S, Gupta N, & Rao AB. Understanding the impact of lifestyle on individual carbon-footprint. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2014: 133, 47-60.