Design and implementation of an open framework for ubiquitous carbon footprint calculator applications

Farzana Rahman, Casey O'Brien, Sheikh I. Ahamed, He Zhang, Lin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


As climate change is becoming an important global issue, more and more people are beginning to pay attention to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To measure personal or household carbon dioxide emission, there are already plenty of carbon footprint calculators available on the web. Most of these calculators use quantitative models to estimate carbon emission caused by a user's activities. Although these calculators can promote public awareness regarding carbon emission due to an individual's behavior, there are concerns about the consistency and transparency of these existing CO2 calculators. Apart from a small group of smart phone based carbon footprint calculator applications, most of the existing CO2 calculators require users to input data manually. This not only provides a poor user experience but also makes the calculation less accurate. The use of a standard framework for various carbon footprint application developments can increase the accuracy of overall calculations, which in turn may increase energy awareness at the individual human level. We aim for developing a carbon footprint calculation framework that can serve as a platform for various carbon footprint calculator applications. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a platform-agnostic Open Carbon Footprint Framework (OCFF) that will provide the necessary interfaces for software developers to incorporate the latest scientific knowledge regarding climate change into their applications. OCFF will maintain a clouded knowledge base that will give developers access to a dynamic source of computational information that can be brought to bear on real-time sensor data. Based on the OCFF platform, we developed a Ubiquitous Carbon Footprint Calculator application (UCFC) that allows the user to be aware of their personal carbon footprint based on their ubiquitous activity and act accordingly. The major contribution of this paper is the presentation of the quantitative model of the platform along with the entire design and implementation of UCFC application. We also present the results, analysis, and findings of an extensive survey that has been conducted to find users' awareness of increased carbon footprint, feature requirements, and expectations and desires to alleviate CO2 emissions by using a footprint calculator. The design of UCFC application incorporates the analysis and inferences of the survey results. We are also developing a fuel efficient mobile GPS application for iPhone suggesting the greenest/most fuel efficient route to the user. In this paper, we also point out some important features of such an application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-274
Number of pages18
JournalSustainable Computing: Informatics and Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • CO emission
  • Carbon footprint
  • Context
  • Open development platform
  • Sensor
  • Smart software
  • Ubiquitous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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