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GSA Carbon Footprint Tool

Introduction

The GSA Carbon Footprint Tool is a free, user friendly, online tool available for federal agencies to compile and report their annual comprehensive GHG inventory, as required by Executive Order 13514, as well as track progress towards achieving Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction goals.

GSA Carbon Footprint Tool: Calculate, Report, Reduce

Calculate: The Tool facilitates a guided walk-through that allows an agency to determine total GHG emissions.   Three categories of activities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Scope 1 – Direct Emissions from combustion of fuels in stationary sources, mobile combustion and industrial processes;
  • Scope 2 – Indirect Emissions from purchased electricity, heating/cooling and steam; and
  • Scope 3 – Indirect Emissions from sources not covered in Scope 2 such as employee commuting, business travel, and transmissions and distribution losses.

After GHG data has been entered, the Tool uses the calculation methodologies outlined in the Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance and Technical Support Document to ensure the GHG emissions results are complete, accurate, consistent and transparent.

Report:  Reports aggregate building/facility/site-level data so that an agency-wide perspective on the source of greenhouse gas emissions can be developed. This bottom-up capability is unique to the Carbon Footprint Tool. The increased level of detail helps Agency managers identify which facilities should be prioritized for projects that will reduce the carbon footprint.

Reduce:  Explore multiple “what-if” operations scenarios to track progress in meeting reduction targets. Once cost-effective reduction strategies have been developed, implementation can begin towards the important, long-range goal of reducing organizational emissions.

Flow and Functionality

The Carbon Footprint Tool follows an intuitive process flow to federal agency GHG emissions collection and reduction planning. The process includes agency setup, entering GHG data, reviewing your data, exporting to reports, and then planning for reductions in emissions. 

GSA Carbon Footprint Tool Process Flow

Setup:
Setup is typically reserved for organizational administrators. This is where an agency fills out their agency profile defining their reporting boundary, sets up site information, and creates site groups. This is also where LEED, ENERGY STAR, and Guiding Principles status is entered.
Enter GHG Data:
Multiple options are available for entering data into the Carbon Footprint Tool including manual entry, batch upload, automated import from external data sources, and the Scope 3 Commuter Survey.
Manual Entry Agencies can manually enter data building-by-building, site-by-site. The ability to enter monthly consumption and cost data allow for granular data inputs with support for multiple meters from multiple data sources.
Batch Upload Excel-based batch upload templates provide a simple mechanism for uploading large amounts of data at once. Data can be uploaded for an entire fiscal year at once.
External Data Sources Data can also be imported from external data sources and existing federal data systems. Import building and energy consumption data directly from ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Import data from GSA’s REXUS and EUAS databases (for GSA leased space), from Federal Automotive Statistical Tool (FAST) (for fleet fuel usage data), and from GSA Travel MIS (for business travel data).
Scope 3 Commuter Survey

The Scope 3 Commuter Survey is a turn-key solution to help any federal agency capture its Scope 3 Employee Commute information and easily report its emissions to DOE FEMP. GSA has deployed this survey for agencies ranging from the very small (less than 50 employees) to the very large (greater than 500,000 employees). To date over 65,000 federal employees have been surveyed. The response rates have ranged between 34.6 percent and 86.5 percent and 99.4 percent of survey takers have rated their experience as favorable.  

GSA and the Department of Transportation's Volpe Center collaboratively developed the Scope 3 Commuter Survey which is deployed through the GSA Carbon Footprint Tool. The survey questions and deployment method-sending customized email invitations to individual survey participants with a unique, anonymous link-have been approved by CEQ and DOE FEMP. GSA is offering this service free to all federal agencies. Agencies may deploy a commuter survey without committing to the use of any other portion of the Tool. Additional information may be obtained by going to the Scope 3 Commuter Survey page.

Review:  
Review allows federal agencies to analyze existing GHG data for validation and comparison purposes.  
Quality Assurance (QA) Review QA Review provides a formalized mechanism for second-party review and verification. During QA review, organizational administrators can flag potentially invalid data and include comments for review. Organizational administrators can either “approve” data or “reject” data (send back to users for further review).
Carbon Profile Map The Carbon Profile Map displays the GHG emissions for the agency’s multiple locations across the country, enabling an agency to strategically target the highest emitters. The map contains additional layers providing agencies with information about individual sites including: e-grid sub-regions, site emissions, LEED Certification, building type, power plants, and air quality. Also, an agency can view sites that have been shared by other agencies to support inter-agency climate adaptation and local planning efforts.
Reports Run reports at the Site, Site Group, or Enterprise levels. Reports provide detailed GHG emissions breakdown, transparently showing how consumption data inputs were converted to GHG emissions totals. Ad-Hoc Reports provide the greatest flexibility to review data in virtually any configuration desired. This reporting feature also has several pre-built base reports that are available to all users such as All Site Emissions by Year, Highest Emitting Sites, Lowest Emitting Sites, Year-Over-Year Site Comparison, etc.
Survey Dashboard The Scope 3 Commuter Survey Dashboard allows you to create customizable dashboards to visually report the results of a survey. Include pie charts, bar charts, graphs, tables, and even your own text.
Export:
Export includes options for transferring data in bulk from the Carbon Footprint Tool to Excel. The Tool can generate DOE FEMP Reporting workbooks automatically with a single click or batch download some or all of your data into Excel for review or archiving purposes.
Plan:
Identify inefficient assets and model the potential GHG reductions that can be achieved.
Dashboard The tool has a dashboard feature for agencies to easily identify “sustainable” products, as well as track how procurements can facilitate GHG emissions reductions over time, on either a monthly or yearly basis. Select data for any site and adjust dashboard sliders to model the impact of making GHG reduction actions. Reduction results are displayed visually and in “plain English”.
Benchmarking The benchmarking feature allows agencies to compare building energy and GHG emissions performance relative to one another and relative to CBECS (Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey) averages. Users can compare sites against each other, visualize site performance as bell or scatter chart, and apply filters to compare sites to peer groups. Users can filter by building type, LEED Certification, Site Group, state/country, year built, square footage, GHG Target/EISA Goal, Energy Star Certification, and Guiding Principles compliance.

Adherence to the Public Protocol and Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting Guidance

The GSA Carbon Footprint Tool already adheres to the World Resource Institute (WRI) GHG Public Sector Protocol, an international standard on which most other protocols are based, and the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) 14064-1 Greenhouse Gases-Part 1: Specification. The tool aligns to the Executive Order (EO) 13514 Federal Greenhouse Gas Accounting and Reporting Guidance so your agency can be assured you are collecting and accounting for the required greenhouse gas emissions for federal reporting.

How Can I Access the GSA Carbon Footprint Tool?

The GSA Carbon Footprint Tool is limited to federal agency personnel, and contractors directly supporting an agency as part of its EO 13514 GHG reporting requirements. If you are a federal employee and you have a .gov, .us, or .mil email address, you may register for a preview account. Go to GSA's Carbon Footprint Tool page to gain access to preview the tool. Select “Sign Up Now” and make sure to select “Demo Agency – Tool Preview” under the Agency drop-down menu. After submitting this form, you will receive a welcome email confirming your registration and allowing you to access the “Demo Agency” to explore the Tool’s features. 

If you require access to your agency’s live data or you are a contractor supporting an agency with its GHG inventory, please email carbonfootprint@gsa.gov.

Help

Learn more about site navigation and tool functionality.

User Guides: https://www.carbonfootprint.gsa.gov/?Page=help.userGuides

Video Tutorials: https://www.carbonfootprint.gsa.gov/?Page=tutorial

Contacts

Jennifer Hazelman
(
816) 510-4570

Sandra Britz
(
703) 605-2630

DOE Greenhouse Gas Reporting Workbooks

While agencies can use the GSA Carbon Footprint Tool to calculate their emissions, they must use the DOE Greenhouse Gas Reporting Portal to report their emissions. GSA has worked in partnership with DOE to download an agency’s comprehensive GHG inventory from the Carbon Footprint Tool into the DOE FEMP Reporting Workbooks.


Carbon Footprint Tool, Emissions, GHGs, Executive Order 13514, EO13514