User Guide

Reporting Energy Consumption Emissions

There are two ways that the emissions from energy consumption can be reported when presenting an organisation’s carbon footprint – location-based or market-based.

Location-based reporting reflects the average emissions intensity of the grids (electricity and/or gas) on which energy consumption occurs using the grid emissions factors for the country in question.

For market-based reporting, the quoted emissions figures are based on the tariff that has been purchased; these range from 100% renewable “green” energy to a mix of green and “brown” energy as supplied in standard fuel tariffs.

According to the GHG Protocol an organisation may choose which of the two options to use for their reporting. In general, organisations choose market-based reporting if they are buying energy through a “green” tariff. If your organisation wants to report emissions from gas and electricity consumption on that basis, the overall carbon footprint will be lower than if you report on a location basis.

Market-based reporting tends to hide the more complicated reality of how energy is generated and can, if an organisation is not careful, become a blind-spot in carbon reduction efforts as it appears that all possible savings have already been made. However, buying green energy is no substitute for real year-on-year reductions in consumption.

For this reason, reporting on a location basis is to be preferred when looking at the organisation’s footprint as it will aid the identification of “hot spots” of energy consumption and potential carbon reductions in properties owned by the organisation.