A collaborative effort between PepsiCo and the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University’s Earth Institute has resulted in new software that speeds up the process.
Companies like Facebook and Netflix use data-mining software to predict what kind of advertising might appeal to you, or what movies you might like to watch, all based on the information that is found in databases regarding you and your peer groups.
Similarly, the new software, when combined with large databases filled with product analysis, can predict the carbon footprint of thousands of products in just a few minutes.
Because it doesn’t require much input beyond the database information, it doesn’t require an expert at the controls. Non-expert employees in any company can calculate carbon footprints accurately and inexpensively.
Statistical gathering, such as how much water goes into the manufacture of a certain product, could, with proper development, be handled by the same type of software. Energy-efficiency software, such as Opower‘s, has also been taking cues from data-mining techniques to run analysis on utility data in the cloud.