The Positive Feedback Loop of the Carbon Factor Index

The Positive Feedback Loop of the Carbon Factor Index

The true power of ICEMAN is that once it is implemented, its effects snowball. It creates a domino effect—a powerful positive feedback loop.

The Carbon Factor Index casts a spotlight on manufacturers’ greenhouse gas emissions. After placing CFI certification labels on products, the market forces of competitive advantage will favor products that are closer to carbon neutral, as consumers choose products they know are better for the environment. Low-carbon manufacturers will have a competitive advantage and become more successful. Manufacturers with higher carbon footprints will face pressure to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in order to remain competitive. Those who do nothing to reduce their emissions will find themselves losing market share.

ICEMAN impacts every stage of the creation of a product, every level of the manufacturing process—and every product that is manufactured. It impacts every raw material, every component, every process along the supply chain, all the way back to the natural resource taken out of the ground. Because ICEMAN measures greenhouse gas emissions throughout the manufacturing process, it gives companies the ability to analyze carbon efficiency at every stage of that process. This enables them to target specific operations, components, or materials where emissions can be reduced. Thus, reducing their overall carbon footprint.

As manufacturers focus on low-carbon manufacturing to increase their Carbon Factor Index value, they will examine carbon inefficiencies in their manufacturing processes. They will be incentivized to rebuild their facilities to incorporate low-carbon systems and infrastructure. Older plants will be adapted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, new plants will be built with an eye to reducing carbon emissions.

Manufacturers will also be driven to seek out low-carbon materials and components. For example, if a company is purchasing concrete, it may pay attention to the process used to create those clinkers. The wet kiln process for producing clinkers for concrete is less energy efficient than the dry kiln process. Therefore, concrete from two different manufacturers who use these two different methods will have different carbon footprints.[1],[2] Manufacturers will be incentivized to use concrete that is made using the dry kiln method. This is because it is less carbon intense. This would in turn incentivize concrete factories to update their methods, operations, processes and facilities to use the dry kiln method. Thus, reducing their carbon footprint.

This positive feedback loop will extend beyond manufacturing and business. It will also have an effect at national and international levels. ICEMAN also has the ability to impact the emissions created by the manufacturing of products across the globe. As the market forces of competitive advantage drive companies and manufacturers to lower their carbon footprints in this country, manufacturers in other nations work to lower their carbon footprints in order to remain competitive.

Therefore, this will also drive the creation of more renewable energy systems and infrastructure. States, regions, and even countries will be able to attract companies and manufacturers based on their low-carbon infrastructure. This encourages states, regions and countries to invest in low-carbon infrastructure in order to attract business. States, regions, and countries with high-carbon infrastructures will feel pressure to convert to low-carbon systems. This is in order to prevent companies from moving to other lower-carbon locations. Those who regress or simply maintain the status quo will find themselves falling behind. In addition, developing regions and nations will be incentivized to decarbonize and build low-carbon infrastructure as they develop.

ICEMAN also incentivizes companies to implement renewable energy measures. For example, installing energy-saving measures like solar panels at their facilities. As companies in renewable energy sources, these technologies will continue to develop and improve. Thus, even more, efficient and energy-saving and becoming more available and affordable for everyone to use.

This in turn will help individuals reduce their carbon footprints. How? Through actions like making their houses fossil fuel-free. This is a project I am undertaking myself. My project was inspired by a professor from Stony Brook who teaches thermodynamics and came up with a concept of creating homeostasis in buildings. This is done by mimicking how our bodies maintain temperature by circulating fluids. He combined his concept with a concept out of Germany called TABS: Thermally Activated Building Systems. The mass of the building itself becomes a reservoir for both heating and cooling. This professor and I are now using my house as a laboratory to test out these concepts.

My first step was to make my house more energy efficient by installing solar panels and adopting energy-saving technologies. With these, I have essentially turned my house into an energy battery. My home is producing 140 percent of the electricity I consume. That 40 percent of excess electricity goes into an energy bank.

This excess energy could be used to charge an electric vehicle without using electricity from a nonrenewable source. Because I would be using electricity I’ve produced myself, and because I would never need to purchase gas, the car would run for free. Thus, run completely emissions-free.

This project is larger in scope than many individuals would undertake. But as the ICEMAN positive feedback loop leads to better, more available, and more affordable renewable energy technology, more individuals will be able to more easily move toward a low-carbon lifestyle.

With one little label on products, ICEMAN can cause monumental shifts across all industries. Thus, spreading through our infrastructure and expanding across the entire world. Each shift toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions will trigger more shifts. This in turn leads the whole world closer and closer to carbon neutrality. With the power of the positive feedback loop, a decarbonized world no longer seems so far out of reach, does it?


[1] Engineering Discoveries, “Difference between Wet and Dry Process of Cement,” November 6, 2019,

[2] Lisa J. Hanle, Kamala R. Jayaraman, and Joshua S. Smith, “CO2 Emissions Profile of the US Cement Industry,” 2004,