YouSustain FAQ

How does YouSustain calculate CO2 and cash savings?

We collect as much data as possible about each sustainable action from sources like product documentation, articles, and research papers. We then use this data to produce sensible ranges for costs and benefits of an average person to implement the action in the real world.

Example: as of this writing we list the cost of a total house solar conversion to be between $15,000 to $30,000. This is a large range due mostly to differences in house sizes, geographic location and costs of materials. There are cases where it has cost someone much less or more than that, but that would not accurately reflect the costs for the average person.

CO2 emission reductions are mostly calculated based off the emissions of the most popular non-sustainable alternative. For example, when calculating the impact of driving a hybrid car we used the average North American vehicle fuel efficiency (21 mpg) as the baseline. We then built the range based off the eficiency gains of the range of popular hybrid vehicles.

To be clear, these are all estimates based off reasonable averages. If you have data you think would improve our site, we would love to include it, so please email us.

How accurate are the CO2 and cash savings in the calculator and on my impact?

If the values you entered are accurate, these values should be a decent estimate. The only way to get a truly accurate number would be to measure all the variables yourself and calculate the result. However, we strive to get results that should be close to the real numbers for the average person by making some simple assumptions. For example, the average person drives their car about 20,000km per year and most clean energy providers charge a premium of around 25% for their energy.

Our goal is to give people an idea of how sustainable they are, or can be. We are not trying to tell people exactly how much money they will free in their budget by becoming more sustainable, rather just that there are a lot of ways to save money and be more sustainable at the same time.

How do CO2 and Cash savings accumulate on my profile?

CO2 and Cash savings accumulate in several ways. First, sustainable actions which you have added to your profile have either an associated yearly reduction amount (ongoing actions) or a one-time reduction. For ongoing actions we use the yearly amount to calculate the daily total and every night that amount gets added to your profile impact. One-time actions are added to your profile immediately.

Secondly, the impact listed on a challenge is added to your profile instantly when it is completed.

What is a YouSustain Award?

First of all, to be clear, Awards are a Beta program so all these details are subject to change.

YouSustain Awards are collected by various actions or milestones on the website, and are normally denoted with this icon: .

The first way to collect an Award is to complete a challenge. Remember that a challenge can be completed multiple times. In the near future we intend to define specific milestones of CO2 reduction to receive awards when reached. Just as an example, if the sustainable actions in your profile add up to a CO2 savings of say 2,000kg per month and if we set a milestone for every 1,000kg CO2 saved, you would earn 2 awards per month.

What will be done with YouSustain Awards?

First of all, to be clear, Awards are a Beta program so all these details are subject to change.

There are several things we would like to do with Awards. First, awards could be a more meaningful way of listing or ranking members, since it takes more comitment to sustainability than just adding several actions to your profile.

Second, giving awards some real-world meaning as a reward system would be nice, but still at the brainstorming stage.

Again, these details are still in development, so if you have any suggestions, comments or questions please email us at feedback.