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What's the carbon footprint of your handwash?

Planet Metrics releases test version of Rapid Carbon Modeling software for retailers to calculate and reduce the embedded energy in their products and operations.

A heat map gives a reading of how much energy is used in the supply chain and production of ingredients in a company's products.
Planet Metrics

Start-up Planet Metrics is developing software that could give consumers a better read on the embedded energy of everyday products.

The San Francisco-based company on Tuesday released the beta test version of its hosted application, which it calls Rapid Carbon Modeling. It also said Method, which makes eco-friendly home-cleaning products, is a customer.

There are a number of companies writing software for calculating how much energy is linked to a business' operations and managing carbon emissions. Planet Metrics' software is geared at manufacturers and makers of consumer packaged goods.

Using Planet Metrics' software, a person could, for example, see how much energy consumption is associated with procuring the components that make up a cell phone. With that information, a company can then look for ways to cut energy consumption, such as reducing waste or finding another supplier.

The carbon footprint picture is built by combining a company's internal data, such as bills for certain materials, with scientific and academic models for calculating embedded energy, according to Planet Metrics.

Method is using the software in product design and sourcing, co-founder Adam Lowry said in a statement. "By better understanding volatile energy and resource prices, we can make better decisions to lessen the overall footprint (of our products) and save money," he said.

Planet Metrics CEO Andy Leventhal said the company does not yet have hard return-on-investment numbers for its software, but companies with sustainability initiatives, such as Wal-Mart Stores, have found significant savings in reducing fuel use and waste.