The CHEFS Tool Measures Carbon Footprints In Dining Services

How large is the carbon footprint of your cafeteria or dining area?  Now you can accurately measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from your dining services using the CHEFS tool from Clean Air – Cool Planet (CA-CP).

CA-CP is an organization that works in collaboration with universities, communities, and corporations to develop innovative solutions designed to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for climate change.  CA-CP has developed tools that help colleges across the nation measure and reduce their carbon footprint.  CA-CP also helps towns and cities identify the energy and climate challenges they face and work to develop approaches to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for climate change.

CA-CP’s latest creation is the online tool designed to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from dining service operations, called Charting Emissions from Food Services (CHEFS).  The CHEFS tool is now available to the public in a beta version, which will be tested and improved upon.  The program allows users to quantify carbon emissions by evaluating the impact of each process in the entire supply chain of food items.  These processes include agricultural impacts associated with growing crops and feeding livestock, processing and packaging, transportation and delivery, and disposal.  The supply chain approach in CHEFS was modeled after the Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) design, which aims to measure the entire cradle-to-grave life cycle of an item.

The CHEFS interface of is very user-friendly, easy to understand, and contains help sections with answers to frequently asked questions.  The step-by-step process allows users to enter a time frame for measurement, select the food item to be measured, enter the transportation distance, and input the total weight consumed.  After all food categories are separately added, CHEFS calculates the carbon emissions, measured in CO2 equivalent.  This measurement can then be used as a baseline for tracking reductions in carbon emissions.

Further testing of the CHEFS tool is scheduled by CA-CP, with the goal of incorporating it into the Campus Carbon Calculator, another carbon emissions calculation tool.  CA-CP also hopes to continue the expansion of different food items included in the database.  They are continuously working with colleges, businesses, and other facilities that have dining services to gather data about food items and consumption.

The CHEFS tool is available online at http://www.cleanair-coolplanet.org/chefs.php.  Try it today, and check the Environmental and Engineering Solutions blog for further information and updates related to the release of the final version.

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