Measure, disclose and assess annual asset and portfolio energy demand and carbon emissions
To create transparent building performance metrics through measurement and monitoring so as to readily compare and evaluate across asset and portfolio level. Disclosure of building performance metrics related to energy consumption and operational carbon emissions is intended to generate easily digestible and publicly available information (for consumers, employees etc) at portfolio level and to establish the portfolio working baseline; and identify performance gaps and opportunities for energy efficiency improvements at both asset and portfolio level. These will inform the implementation plan and decarbonization roadmap.
Policy Pathway: Disclose estimated buildings sector greenhouse gas inventory
Municipal/Governments Building Pathway: Measure and publicly disclose14 energy consumption plus scope 1 & 2 operational carbon emissions from portfolio and identify performance gaps and opportunities to reduce carbon emissions while improving energy productivity
Carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2e) equates greenhouse gases with a common unit of carbon dioxide. Through multiplying each greenhouse gas (GHG) by a global warming potential (GWP) factor the result is the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from that GHG.
The relevant 100 year GWP factors to use can be found through the GHG Protocol website which has been adapted from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014 (AR5).
Emissions factors should come from relevant local and national sources which are based on measured carbons emissions of the electricity grid that is updated by the source annually (eg UK Government). Where this is not possible, regional emission factors should be followed (eg EU Covenant of Mayors) and finally global emission factors from the IPCC Emissions Factor Database.
By using carbon dioxide equivalence (CO2e), entities are able to include a wider range of GHG’s (eg methane, nitrous oxide) therefore capturing other energy sources (eg natural gas) and achieving more accurate asset and portfolio carbon emission levels. Furthermore, by using carbon dioxide equivalence, entities are also able to include other emissions currently not in the Commitment (eg refrigerants) to demonstrate leadership within their sector and industry. Where these emissions are included they must meet the requirements of the disclose and verify sections and be easily distinguishable from the emissions included within this Commitment. This will allow for ease of reference in terms of marketing and allow for robust best practice information.
Scope of Emissions
Scope 1 emissions: The definition for scope 1 emissions varies depending on which pathway the entity pursues, adapted from the following standards of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol:
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard
- Greenhouse Gas Protocol: Community Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories
Policy pathway: GHG emissions from sources located within the city, state or region boundary.
Municipal/government building pathway: Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources relating directly to operational energy consumption16 of the building. As such, all emissions related to construction processes, fleet vehicles or industrial and manufacturing loads are currently not required but are strongly encouraged to be disclosed, tracked and reported.
Scope 2 emissions: The definition for scope 217 emissions varies depending on which pathway the entity pursues, adapted from the aforementioned Greenhouse Gas Protocol standards.
Policy pathway: GHG emissions occurring as a consequence of the use of grid-supplied electricity, heat, steam and/or cooling within the city, state or region boundary. Municipal/government building pathway: Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy
Greenhouse gas accounting
Overall, the intent of disclosure is to determine and disclose publicly the portfolio working baseline. The baseline is intended to inform the decarbonization and implementation plan in the act requirement of the Commitment.
The portfolio working baseline is the total energy consumption for the entity’s portfolio for a continuous 12-month period and the resultant scope 1 and scope 2 operational energy-related carbon emissions.
Simply put, the portfolio working baseline is the direct emissions (scope 1) plus the indirect emissions (scope 2) minus the avoided emissions (renewables and offsets).
For a small-scale organization with a few buildings, a theoretical calculation involving emissions factors, energy bills and benchmarking may suffice, but, due to the complexities that are encountered with high volumes of data by large-scale businesses, organizations, cities, states or regions, it is recommended that an internationally recognized greenhouse gas accounting standard or reporting protocol where requirements and recommendations for design, development, management, reporting and verification of an organization’s GHG inventory can be followed.
Due to the wide range of scale associated with the type of entities signing up to the Commitment, the chosen method for greenhouse gas accounting to demonstrate the portfolio working baseline can vary substantially and is often dependent on magnitude of scale, financial or legislative constraints.
The following guidance is intended to provide different options for using a greenhouse gas accounting standard or reporting protocol depending on the type and size of the organization. This list is not exhaustive or restrictive and other protocols or standards may be used.
- 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories21. The 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories were produced at the invitation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- ISO 14064-1:2006 Greenhouse gases - Part 1: Specification with guidance at the organization level for quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. ISO launched the development of the ISO 14064 set of standards as a solution to the problems posed by the fact that governments, business corporations and voluntary initiatives were using a number of approaches to account for organization- and project-level GHG emissions and removals with no generally accepted validation or verification protocols.
For disclosure, entities are required to measure their portfolio working baseline. As each portfolio may have a unique mix of existing buildings and planned buildings the way to measure each may vary when determining the baseline. The following guidance details how measurements should be conducted for these building types:
Existing buildings: For as many existing buildings as possible, measurements should be from historical data collected monthly over a continuous 12-month period. Common sources of data suggested to form these measurements are energy bills, meter readings or monitoring platforms. Where energy consumption is not known, please read the performance gap section for guidance on how to address this issue.
Planned buildings: Planned buildings are buildings under construction or design and post-planning permissions. The building performance metrics for these buildings and use within the portfolio working baseline should be determined from predicted energy consumption and operational carbon emissions. The guidance outlined within the data/performance gaps section details how to determine energy consumption and carbon emissions through a theoretical analysis. Entities may also pursue a modeled approach using locally relevant industry standards to determine these metrics. Entities should consult their local GBC for more information.
A data gap refers to an asset or number of assets within an entity’s portfolio whereby building performance metrics are unknown, wholly or partly. This can be due to unattainable measurements or lack of historical data from either meter readings or utility bills etc.
Where a data gap is known be it for the whole of the/part of the disclosure/ reporting period, the entity must estimate the amount of carbon emissions the asset would emit, using benchmarking to a relevant industry standard. This benchmarking needs to be inclusive of climatic factors and activity based historical factors where possible to give the most accurate representation. If benchmarking is not possible or there is only small partial performance gaps (less than four months total, no more than two consecutive months) for the asset, then an interpolation and estimate based on climatic factors, available historical data for the asset and from locally relevant data should be used.
Through either data gaps, poor building management or unintended performance a difference between predicted or expected annual energy demand and that which is observed may occur. This is known as a performance gap.
Once a data or performance gap has been identified, the entity must take corrective action for the asset and include it in the implementation plan. For data gaps, this should include an adequate metering and monitoring strategy among other relevant measures. The entity must be able to measure and track appropriate carbon emissions data for the asset(s) as far as possible. Where this is not possible, appropriate estimations based on best practice industry standards can be used. The entity is encouraged to monitor their emissions as well to make measurement and tracking easy and robust.
Developer stream only: predicted energy use and operating costs
There are two key building performance metrics for disclosure across all relevant streams:
- energy consumption (kWh)
- operational carbon emissions (tCO2e)
For the developer stream, entities are encouraged to provide predicted operational costs from the two key building performance metrics for the asset. This is intended to create transparency around the impact of design decisions on the performance of buildings, and resultant carbon emissions.
© World Green Building Council 2016-2021