When you think of carbon emissions, many people think of common contributors such as the burning of fossil fuels, the use of planes and other transports, or the production of items such as clothes and toys. Very few people, however, think of the environmental impact of using the internet.

WebCarbon is a Chrome Extension which tracks the amount of carbon generated from using the internet and browsing websites. It is designed to educate people on the contributions of the internet to climate change, and urge them to see how their daily lives are causing large impact on the planet.

What it does

WebCarbon uses javascript to calculate the amount of carbon produced by a website using the average figure for website emissions (stored in a variable) as well as individual figures for highly polluting websites such as Amazon. It takes the date of your growing to generate a column bar chart for the past 30 days where you can see how your carbon emissions have varied. It forecasts your yearly carbon emissions from browsing the internet - and once you have used it for 1-2 days, it will provide a more accurate and detailed forecast based upon the days and times which you use certain websites (for example if you use a particular site only on weekdays) and will compare the emissions to how many flights from London to Paris that would be equivalent to.

How we built it

I created this extension using JavaScript, with the popup layout coded in HTML. I started by doing the basic layout with some hardcoded data, before making the functions which would add carbon emissions each time the browser address changed. I also made sure that this data was stored in local storage so that it could keep track of your emissions for as long as you need.

Challenges we ran into

I had to work hard to figure out how to make sure it was continually running in the background, rather than only when you had the extension open. Once I had this nailed, however, I managed to draw upon previous JavaScript knowledge to create the extension.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

I am very proud of creating my first Chrome Extension and hope to continue developing my skills to create even better, multi-functional ones. I am also proud of the layout of the popup since I was unsure how to get that to work in a way which looked nice.

What we learned

I learned lots about using javascript for extensions, as well as developing my javascript knowledge to create more complex function than I was used to creating.

What's next for WebCarbon

I hope to make the carbon calculation more accurate with a larger dataset (rather than using the average with some larger anomalies)

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