Climate change is pushing the real estate industry to measure and reduce carbon emissions. Many owners and managers (not to mention municipalities) have focused on net-zero emission goals, but an understanding of the size of carbon footprints and how to chart a path to reduction has been difficult.
“Building owners and managers are taking aggressive steps toward decarbonization,” Cindy Jacobs, chief of the ENERGY STAR Program for Commercial Buildings and Industrial Plant told Urban Land. “EPA’s Building Emissions Calculator empowers them to chart a course that will deliver the greatest results for both the environment and their bottom line.”
The calculator ties into data from the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager platform, which is used by 25% of U.S. commercial real estate, as well as being the national benchmarking tool used in Canada. Owners and managers upload their facilities’ information either from the Portfolio Manager or manually. The calculator provides information about historical, current and future annual greenhouse gas emissions from building energy use.
The EPA points out that building owners and managers that already use the Energy Star Portfolio Manager can pull that data into the calculator. Additionally, GHG emissions can be calculated in several ways and relying on regional or local factors, such as municipal or state requirements. Furthermore, the calculator allows users to create, view and download emissions that are consistent with the GHG Accounting and Report Industry Standards. Other inputs include different sources of energy generation, such as solar, wind or coal power.
With help from this and other information, building owners and managers can set a benchmark and track the effectiveness of decarbonization efforts, over time.
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