My organisation has not tried to measure its carbon footprint before and it all seems a bit daunting. Can it start small and build up the reporting as time goes on?My organisation has not tried to measure its carbon footprint before and it all seems a bit daunting. Can it start small and build up the reporting as time goes on?
Yes! But deciding to get going is the biggest step of all. The West of England Carbon Challenge is here to help you identify what activities produce carbon, how you measure your carbon related activity and how you can make capturing and monitoring this data more manageable. At the very minimum, we need to know the following about your site:
- Number of full time employees
- Floor area (square metres)
- Electricity usage and type
- Heating usage and type
- If you have a fleet we will need to know vehicle type and fuel consumption.
It’s best to get started by examining your energy use, as this is often the biggest contribution to your total carbon footprint. If you wish, you can include waste and water (both of which have a carbon footprint), business travel (i.e. non fleet travel), and any carbon offsetting. You can also record what your organisation spends on these areas. But these are only optional.
When an organisation signs up to the Carbon Challenge, we will ask what type of electricity, heating and other measurements apply to your organisation – what performance indicators you want to report against. That way you will not be faced with a long list of irrelevant factors every time you wish to enter data.
My site uses electricity and gas, both of which are metered. How do I go about measuring my energy use? Where do I start?My site uses electricity and gas, both of which are metered. How do I go about measuring my energy use? Where do I start?
First – find your gas and electricity meters for the site. For metered fuels (electricity and gas), the best thing to do is read the meter regularly, or at least at the beginning and end of the period of time over which you want to measure your energy use. Your consumption is the end meter reading, minus the start meter reading. Because the Carbon Challenge is about monitoring usage over a number of years, you first need to enter your readings when you are ready to start entering data. Normally this would be shortly after you have signed up. Then you just input regular meter readings after that – whether monthly, quarterly or annually. You do not need to perform any calculations on the data, just keep entering the meter readings and the system will work out your overall energy consumption and total carbon emissions.
I can’t access the meters on our site. But our energy suppliers provide readings on our bills. Will these suffice?I can’t access the meters on our site. But our energy suppliers provide readings on our bills. Will these suffice?
If your energy bills are based on actual readings, or if you don’t have readings covering the correct time period, you can use information from your bills. If your energy bills are based on estimates from your supplier, the estimate will probably be based on historical data from previous meter readings. In the absence of any other information about energy consumption, you can use estimated bills, but you should start reading your meter regularly and provide readings to your energy supplier as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be paying more than you need to, and the achievements you make in reducing your energy consumption will not be registered. Our carbon calculator tool allows you to input data which can then be edited, verified and locked later on.
My organisation wants to be part of the West of England Carbon Challenge but already has an environmental management system in place. Does that mean we can't join?My organisation wants to be part of the West of England Carbon Challenge but already has an environmental management system in place. Does that mean we can't join?
No, you can still join. Although we do provide a ready made tool and methodology to capture and calculate your organisation’s emissions, and strongly recommend that members use this, organisations that have calculated their carbon footprint using a reputable system like ISO14001 or the Legal Sector Alliance carbon tool can submit this data. This data will be included in reporting pertaining to the Carbon Challenge and will still be monitored for carbon reductions. Like the data of members using our iSystain system, it will not be available publicly. Organisations can still benefit from other elements of the Challenge including the events and networking.
What are the differences between the Carbon Challenge and Business in the Community's May Day Network, or the Green Capital Pledge?What are the differences between the Carbon Challenge and Business in the Community's May Day Network, or the Green Capital Pledge?
The West of England Carbon Challenge is a support scheme for the Prince’s May Day Network and Bristol Green Capital Pledge. By joining the Carbon Challenge you will therefore also become a member of the May Day Network, and if you are in Bristol, the Green Capital Pledge. But it is the only region wide initiative with a ready-made carbon calculator tool that can be tailored to your organisation’s needs and allows you to enter all your data, monthly if you wish, fully in line with Government requirements if they affect you. It also produces analytical reports that really help you understand how your energy costs break down and where savings can be achieved.