Calculating and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

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Environmental Alert

Calculating and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
by Paul Jakubski, Director of Environmental and Safety, Dow Jones & Co. Inc.

    With all the talk in the media today of global warming              The GHG Protocol uses five guiding principles when
and “going green” by lowering your carbon footprint, exactly        developing a footprint:
how do you calculate your carbon footprint? Although cur-           I completeness
rently there is no government mandatory standard to use in          I consistency
the United States, there is an international, voluntary stan-       I relevance
dard that stands out among others and has been accepted by
                                                                    I accuracy
most major corporations and non-governmental organiza-
tions (NGOs) as the default standard: The Greenhouse Gas            I transparency
(GHG) Protocol (                                   Highlighting two of these principles, consistency is
    This standard was developed by the World Resources              important because a consistent methodology will be needed
Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable            as your operations change over time. Transparency is
Development, whose working committee includes organiza-             important so that you can disclose assumptions and make ref-
tions such as the World Wildlife Fund, The United Nations,          erences for a clear audit trail.
Ford, BP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the U.S. EPA. This                The GHG protocol requires six gases to be reported: (1)
accounting system is used by the European Emissions Trad-           carbon dioxide (CO2), (2) methane (CH4), (3) nitrous oxide
ing program and in California’s voluntary Climate Action            (N2O), (4) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), (5) perfluorocarbons
Registry Protocol. Recognized by EPA (and used in a slightly        (PFCs), and (6) sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). These are the
modified version in EPA’s voluntary Climate Leaders Pro-            same six gases that were identified during the development
gram), most major corporations such as GE, Johnson & John-          of the Kyoto Protocol. Of the six, only CO2, CH4, N2O (all
son, Wal-Mart, and News Corporation are using the GHG               three are products of combustion) and HFCs (refrigerants)
Protocol.                                                           would typically apply to printing operations.
    Adding pressure to report your carbon footprint, the                The GHG Protocol divides the types of emission sources
EPA is expected to require businesses to begin reporting            into three scopes. Scope 1 sources are direct emissions from
their greenhouse gases in 2009.                                     the facility, such as:
                                                                    I Emergency generators
What Do I Calculate?                                                I Gas boilers/water heaters
     When it comes to calculating your carbon footprint,            I Company-owned or leased vehicles
there are basically two types to choose from: (1) calculating       I Propane forklifts/clamp trucks
what you can operationally or financially control, or (2) cal-
                                                                    I Refrigerants (HFCs)
culating the entire life cycle of your business. The life cycle
                                                                        Scope 2 is the electricity purchased for your facility. Both
analysis is usually focused on a particular product and
                                                                    Scope 1 and Scope 2 must be included in your calculations
is sometimes called the product or supply chain carbon
                                                                    per the GHG Protocol.
                                                                        Scope 3 covers the indirect emissions from your opera-
     This article will focus on the operational control carbon
                                                                    tions, such as:
footprint, which is the type that most companies report pub-
licly. For a list of companies that have publicly reported their    I Product materials produced by your suppliers
carbon footprints, go to the Carbon Disclosure Project                 (newsprint/paper, ink, etc.)
(CDP) reference at the end of this article. The CDP is the          I Contractor delivery vehicles
largest repository in the world for footprint data, formed by       I Employee commuting to/from work
a number of financial investment companies, including Mer-          I Business air travel
rill Lynch and Goldman Saks. The CDP uses the GHG Pro-                  Scope 3 emissions are optional and are not required to be
tocol for reporting.                                                reported per the GHG Protocol. Some have argued that
     The first task in developing your carbon footprint is to set   including these would be double counting your emissions,
your boundaries. Determine what you can operationally con-          since your Scope 3 emission sources could be considered
trol (such as owned and/or leased buildings, vehicles, and          somebody else’s Scope 1 sources. However, many businesses
equipment) so that they can be included in the calculations.        have chosen to include some Scope 3 emissions in their cal-

40 GATFWorld                                                                                                            June 2008
Environmental Alert
culations. For example, News Corporation chose to include              Scope 2 Electricity Calculations Are Similarly Derived:
business air travel.                                                    Usage (kWh) × CO2 emission factor (lbs CO2/kWh) /
    Completing Scope 3 emissions would, by default, get you        2204.62 lbs/metric ton + (Usage (kWh) × CH4 emission
most of the information you would need to develop your life        factor (lbs CH4/kWh) / 2204.62 lbs/metric ton) × 21 GWP +
cycle or product carbon footprint, since it includes a review      (Usage (kWh) × N2O emission factor (lbs CH4/kWh) /
of your suppliers as well as disposal emissions.                   2204.62 lbs/metric ton) × 310 GWP = CO2e Emissions
                                                                   (metric tons)
Sample Calculations
                                                                        The emissions factors for electricity can be found using
    Let’s take a look at some examples of calculating foot-        the eGRID emission factors developed by the U.S. EPA.
prints in different scopes.                                        These factors are regionally derived based on the mix of elec-
   Scope 1 Example: Emergency Generators                           tricity sources used (i.e., coal, gas, nuclear, and renewables)
    Usage (gal) × CO2 emission factor (kg CO2/gal) × 0.001         in the region. Figure 2 (on the next page) shows how the
metric tons/kg + (Usage (gal) × CH4 emission factor (kg            regions are divided, with each region having a unique factor.
CH4/gal) × 0.001 metric tons/kg) × 21 GWP + (Usage (gal) ×              Electricity emissions will most likely be the majority of
N2O emission factor (kg N2O/gal) × 0.001 metric tons/kg) ×         your facility emissions.
310 GWP = CO2e Emissions (metric tons)                                  Note that since the eGRID factors are regional, you may
    Since emergency generators (and most petroleum-based           want to ask your local utility if they have specific CO2e emis-
combustion) give off CO2, CH4, and N2O, the first line is the      sion intensity data to get a more accurate factor (per GHG
equation for the CO2 component, the second is the CH4              Protocol). This is especially true if your utility recently added
component, and the third is the N2O component of the emis-         new renewable sources to their grid, such as solar, wind, or
sion. The emission factors vary depending on fuel type and         hydro. The CO2e intensity data should be in the form of lbs.
can be found in the GHG Protocol documents on its website.         CO2e/kWh from your utility so you can apply it for your
The GHG Protocol website also provides sample Excel                usage.
spreadsheet calculators you can download and use.                      Scope 3: Emissions
    The Global Warming Potential (GWP), as defined in the               See Figure 3 for an example of how to calculate business
GHG Protocol, is a factor describing the radiative forcing         air travel, using a spreadsheet template from the GHG
impact (degree of harm to the atmosphere) of one unit of a         Protocol:
given GHG relative to one unit of CO2. For example, see                 As you can tell, the shorter flights have a larger effect on
Figure 1 for some gases and their GWP.                             the emissions than longer flights. This is because a large part
    This chart shows that methane (CH4) is 21 times more           of CO2 emissions from air travel occurs during takeoff and
harmful than CO2, nitrous oxide (N2O) is 310 times more            landing, therefore emissions per mile traveled for short
harmful, and the HFC-23 refrigerant is almost 12,000 times         flights are higher than emissions for long flights.
more harmful! When calculating carbon emissions, these                  Including Scope 3 sources is a decision that each busi-
other gases need to be included in the calculations and            ness will need to make.
related to an “equivalent” CO2, hence the “e” after CO2e.

 Gases and Their Global Warming Potential                           eGRID Emission Factors

  Figure 1. Gases and their respective Global Warming Potentials
                                                                     Figure 2. eGRID Emission Factors

June 2008                                                                                                         GATFWorld 41
Environmental Alert
 Sample Calculation of Scope 3 Emissions

  Figure 3. A sample calculation of Scope 3 Emissions

     Other considerations when developing your footprint is          carbon footprint intensity as CO2e/ton of newsprint or paper
that the baseline year of your footprint will change if you          consumed, or CO2e/sales, or CO2e/employee.
divest businesses, or outsource/insource activities in Scope 1
if not reported in Scope 3 (i.e., delivery of your product). The     Reducing Your Footprint
baseline footprint will not change for any “organic” growth or            The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) devel-
declines (i.e., production changes, office closures, etc.).          oped an “Energy Management in the Newspaper Industry”
Those changes would be counted for the year in which they            (2003) document that could apply to many printers. Figure 4
occurred. You can’t use divestures or outsourcing to show            shows a summary of typical energy sources and potential
reductions in your footprint!                                        energy savings.
     Companies should also consider securing an indepen-                  The table shows that there are four main drivers of
dent party to audit your footprint calculations. This is part of     energy usage in a printing operation: lighting, heating, venti-
the transparency principle and is expected under the GHG             lation and air conditioning (HVAC), air compressors, and the
protocol.                                                            motor drives used in the presses. Efforts should be focused
     Finally, carbon footprints are normally reported in abso-       on reducing the energy used by these four groups of equip-
lute numbers, but you should consider developing a carbon            ment in your plant.
footprint intensity to normalize your data for changes in pro-            Here are a few simple, low-cost energy reduction
duction or sales. For example, you can determine your                solutions:
                                                                     I Audit your plant for energy efficiencies using
                                                                        local universities (see the Industrial Technologies
 Potential Energy Savings
                                                                        Program link in the references section).
  Source          Typical Energy         Average         Average     I Remove bulbs (and ballasts) where not needed.
                        Savings          Payback             ROI     I Shut off equipment when not in use
                                                                        (PCs, machine shop equipment).
  Lighting               12–66%           2.5 years           40%    I Insulation, weather stripping, and window film
                                                                        coverings still work!
  HVAC                   10–30%           3.9 years           26%    I Use LED, T8s/T5s, or CFL lighting
  Air                    20–50%            No data         No data      (no incandescent bulbs!)
  Compressors                                                        I Use occupancy sensors (dual infrared/ultrasonic
                                                                        work best).
  Motors/Drives          25–75%          2.5 years            40%
                                                                     I Increase thermostat one degree in summer, decrease
  Natural Gas                30%           No data         No data      one degree in winter.
  Chillers                                                           I Buy variable speed drive motors when replacing old
  Reflective             20–70%            No data        No data       standard motors—a Six Sigma project at Dow Jones
  Roofing                                                               showed a 21% energy savings when running a VSD
                                                                        compressor during non-production times and 12%
  Adjusting                5–20%           No data         No data
  Power Factor      (cost savings)                                      savings in production mode.
                                                                     I Maintain your HVAC system (change filters, lube
  Figure 4. Typical energy sources and potential energy savings         bearings, clean coils).

42 GATFWorld                                                                                                            June 2008
Environmental Alert
I Plug compressed air leaks—an energy audit at one of our
  plants found we were losing 15% of our air due to leaks,          References
  and that one quarter-inch hole can cost us $8,700/year.
                                                                    The following references were used to develop this article that you
I Reduce your hot water heater temperature to 115°F.                can also use to help develop and reduce your carbon footprint:
I Schedule battery charging or baling equipment only
  during off-peak periods (typically 10pm–8am).                      G GHG Protocol (
I Review number of motors used on a newspaper press—a                G CA Climate Action Registry (
  Six Sigma project showed that the most energy efficient            G Carbon Disclosure Project (
  setup was running two more motors than the number of               G Environmental Leader (
  sheets being run, saving us an estimated $100,000/year.            G EPA Climate Leaders (
I Review your local utility rebate offers to new energy              G EnergyStar (
  efficient projects.
                                                                     G LEED (
I Buy “EnergyStar” rated equipment.
                                                                     G Industrial Technologies Program (DOE)
Paul’s department is responsible for developing environmental,
                                                                     G Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership
safety and energy management guidelines, procedures and poli-
cies for the company’s seventeen Wall Street Journal/Barron’s
                                                                     G News Corp Energy Initiative
printing plants and eight Ottaway community newspapers, along
with numerous office locations. He is also the secretary of Dow
Jones’ Corporate E&S Committee, chaired by the Vice President        G Wall Street Journal Environmental Capital Blog
of Production. Paul can be reached at 609-520-4865 or                  (

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June 2008                                                                                                             GATFWorld 43