Faced with the knowledge that almost every facility gives out some type of greenhouse gas, a carbon footprint calculator has come into its’ own, to help organizations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The calculator allows them to more easily recognize the problem, put in place measures to reduce emissions and then gauge their progress.
Standards for calculating, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions are handled by the Climate Registry — a nonprofit agency and are also covered under the US Clean Air Act. Membership in the registry is voluntary, but the majority of states, territories, provinces and sovereign nations within North America are taking part in the effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Data about daily facility operations can be entered into a carbon footprint calculator, and this information is expected to contribute greatly to greenhouse gas emission reduction. The main areas playing a major role in harmful gas emissions are energy use, waste generation, purchased materials and transportation.
It is becoming increasingly critical for businesses to measure their carbon footprint. The current and future health of the planet depends on it. New research shows that certain gases are depleting the ozone layer and contributing to global warming. Because these gases remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, steps must be taken now to slow their damage. These measures include reducing carbon emissions.
By using a carbon footprint calculator, businesses will be able to measure how much of the environmentally harmful gases they use. These substances include carbon dioxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). According to scientists, these gases contribute to the earths warming, which could lead to extreme heat waves, rising sea levels and severe harm to humans, animals, plant life and marine life, if no action is taken to stop the damaging effects.
Under EPA requirements, a business can now use a carbon footprint calculator to identify the extent of their gas emissions, creating a management plan, establish goals and report their findings. Companies that have multiple buildings or locations will find the calculator to be of particular benefit.
Data is entered into a carbon footprint calculator representing Emissions Factors and Global Warming Potential, for each source. Sources are defined as being either direct or indirect, with direct emissions being those classified from equipment or other sources owned or operated by a company and indirect emissions being used by a company during its daily operations, but supplied by another source. The former will cover commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, whilst the latter may involve the use of electricity or heat. Total emissions are factored by multiplying EF and GWP at each source.
Complex data is required to be input into a carbon footprint calculator, so companies with HVAC systems in stores, hospitals, warehouses or offices are turning to refrigerant management programs. These computerized programs include a calculator to handle the sometimes tedious tasks of monitoring, tracking and reporting.