03/18/2013

How to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Turn your greenhouse gas emissions into hard numbers

By Patrick Nye

 

Are you keeping track of your building’s environmental impact yet?

If you’re not already mandated to do so, chances are that day isn’t too far into the future, especially as state governments begin to impose restrictions and shareholders expect deeper management considerations of environmental risk.

Companies such as Chevrolet, Intel, Nike, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft are all working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Make calculating your carbon footprint easy by following these three steps.

1) Pick a Measurement Method

Free Carbon Footprint Calculators

Greenhouse Gas Protocol
ghgprotocol.org/calculation-tools

UC Berkeley (for small businesses)
coolclimate.berkeley.edu/business-calculator

EPA (Applicability Tool)
epa.gov/ghgreporting

Nature Conservancy
nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator

Much like building certification programs, there are multiple standards for greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting – it’s up to you to determine which one to use.

You might consider the Greenhouse Gas Protocol from World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which accommodates complex or multinational organizations.

There are also state versions that include mandatory reporting, such as those required for large emitters by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality or California’s Air Resources Board. These protocols offer standardization and technical guidance to facility managers.

If you want to go a simpler route, start by creating a ballpark assessment of your emissions.

The bulk of a building’s footprint is energy use, including electricity, natural gas, and other sources tied to fossil fuel.Review your utility bills and conduct some basic calculations to reveal a large portion of these impacts.

For example, if a building consumes 500 therms of natural gas, multiply by a factor of 11.7 to get the pounds of carbon dioxide emissions: 500 x 11.7 = 5,580 pounds of CO2 from natural gas use.

The same is true for electricity use, where the number of kilowatt-hours consumed over a period is multiplied by the current emissions intensity of your specific grid region (available online through the EPA).


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Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.

Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
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