So-called carbon footprint analyses, or carbon reports, can measure a company’s total greenhouse gas emissions from all operations from “direct” emissions such as company-owned vehicles and “indirect” emissions from purchased electricity and employee travel, among other sources.
While not widely used in any industry, and especially not within a construction sector still suffering from the housing bust, carbon reports and the service providers who do the math are likely to get a boost as government mandates and marketing efforts put pressure on companies to calculate and report reliable and comprehensive results about their environmental impact.One such provider is Climate Earth.
Based in Berkeley, Calif., the company employs a method that follows a chain of impact for almost any product or resource purchased by the company and its suppliers and applies a dollar-per-carbon calculation to those impacts. “The math has been around for decades, but it is being used now to overlay environmental data,” to deliver an objective and comprehensive analysis for companies to evaluate and report their carbon footprints, says Frankie Ridolfi, the company’s vice president of marketing. Turman Commercial Painters in nearby Livermore, Calif., took the plunge with Climate Earth in 2009.
“To reduce carbon emissions, you have to understand their source,” says president and CEO Dave Theobald. “The first report allowed us to benchmark for future studies and improvements.” Based on the report, the company now donates excess paint for reuse by local community groups, uses a water purification system for rinsing and washing its equipment, invests in hybrid vehicles, uses zero- or low-VOC paints, and employs web and video conferencing to reduce employee travel.
In October 2011, the World Resources Institute issued the latest and most aggressive industry standards for carbon accounting, one based on the GHG Protocol that extends the scope beyond carbon impacts related to electrical generation and other fuel burns. To help educate its clients and the industry, Climate Earth produced an objective webcast on the standard at http://www.climateearth.com/webinar_2012_02_08.shtml.