User Guide

Energy

The Energy section covers all of your organisation's energy usage for the complete footprint year. The best source for the information you need in this section will be the bills, invoices and receipts associated with the purchase of energy.

Buildings

When you add an organisation to your group you have the option to add more buildings in addition to the default “Main Church Building” (for churches), “Main Office” for non-profits. When you start a new footprint, those details are copied from your organisation into the footprint. This means that if anything changes between years, for example, your organisation purchases a new building, or moves location, this can be reflected in subsequent footprints. However, once you have started a footprint, the buildings can't be changed, though you don't have to enter data for every building.

Bills

Electricity and Gas bills are typically sent every quarter, with a “make up” bill at the end of the year that adjusts (up or down) your bill based on a meter reading so as to give an accurate measure of actual consumption. Where possible, use this final bill.

For Biomass, Heating Oil and LPG (Propane or Butane) you will need your suppliers' invoices that show the quantities purchased. If, for the footprint year, you haven't consumed the total quantity supplied you will need to estimate how much has been used and adjust the amount you enter.

Depending on how much is used in one year, you may need to consult multiple invoices/bills.

Renewables

Electricity and Gas both have the option to indicate whether that energy was purchased on a 100% renewable tariff. If you are on a 100% renewable tariff then choose “Yes”. Your electricity or gas footprint will then be calculated and displayed as zero. This is the “net” or “market” amount – i.e. it is based on the tariff that you have paid for. We also calculate the “gross” or “location” amount but do not (currently) display it.

From the Defra guidance notes on calculating emissions for electricity (though the principle applies to gas too):
“A location-based method reflects the average emissions intensity of grids on which energy consumption occurs (using mostly grid-average emission factor data). A market-based method reflects emissions from electricity that companies have purposefully chosen (or their lack of choice).”

You can read more about the emissions factors we use in carbon emissions calculations.

Solar Panels

If any of your buildings have solar panels installed please enter both the amount of energy generated and the amount exported to the grid (for grid connected systems).

Solar panels have a small, but not insignificant, carbon footprint related to their fabrication and installation. This footprint can be divided up over the average lifespan of the panels in relation to the energy they generate – the factor we currently use is 0.0499 kgCO₂/kWh generated.

For energy exported back to the grid the emissions saved are calculated using the same factor as for ordinary electricity. This means that your organisation could, in theory, have a negative carbon footprint for energy if any grid connected energy from your buildings is on a renewable (zero rated) tariff and you send a significant quantity of energy back to the grid from solar panels (perhaps on a different building).

Currently, we save all data related to energy exported to the grid, and any associated (negative) emissions are shown in the summary details, but are not reflected in your overall footprint – it's rather difficult to show negative numbers in a pie chart!