The Nitrogen Footprint: A Tool for Communicating and Reducing Our Nitrogen Impact

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Allison Leach, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
The nitrogen (N) footprint is a tool that can both communicate how nitrogen is lost to the environment and reduce those losses through education. Nitrogen footprints connect food and energy choices with nitrogen losses. Models have been developed for individual consumers, institutions, and food products. The consumer-level nitrogen footprint models are country-specific and are available for the United States, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, and Japan, with more country models in development. Users answer questions about their food choices, travel patterns, and energy consumption to calculate their nitrogen footprint and see how it can be reduced. An institution-level nitrogen footprint model has been used by over a dozen colleges and universities in the US. Projections and scenario analysis are used to identify nitrogen footprint reduction targets. Next, the institution N footprint will be combined with the Campus Carbon Calculator, which will broaden and improve campus sustainability perspectives. Through these two tools, consumers and institutions can learn about their current nitrogen footprint and how to reduce it. Effective strategies for individuals include only consuming the recommended amount of protein and reducing food waste. This presentation will review the nitrogen footprint methodology, share results from case studies for individual and institution N footprints, and present how consumer choices impact nitrogen footprints.