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Custom Carbon Emissions Factors

You can change the emission factor used in GRITS for electricity, steam, or chilled water. This feature allows for a more accurate aggregate carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (CO2E) savings number at your institution, especially if the institution does not purchase 100% of its electricity from the standard electric grid. Access this section by clicking the Emissions Factors sub-tab on the Settings page.

  • GRITS Defaults
    • The default carbon equivalent emission factors (measuring carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) are listed here for electricity (which depends on the location of the campus), as well as for steam and chilled water (which are not based on geographical region).
    • A different default for electricity emission factors will be viewable for each campus that is situated in a different geographical region. If you have only one campus, you will only see one region for electricity emission factors.
    • U.S. electricity emission factors are sourced from EPA’s eGRID, determining each campus’s grid mix based on its U.S. zip code.
    • Canadian electricity emission factors are sourced from the Canada National Inventory Report and are province-specific. The British Columbia emission factor was sourced from the BC government, a specific grid mix of the BC Hydro utility company.
    • Australian electricity emission factors are sourced from the Australian government’s National Greenhouse Accounts Factors. Of the two electricity grids listed for Western Australia, we use the factor for the Southwest Interconnected System. In the Northern Territory, institutions located in Darwin and Katherine use the Darwin-Katherine Interconnected System factor and all other Northern Territory institutions use the other listed factor.
    • New Zealand’s electricity emission factor is sourced from the New Zealand government’s Ministry for the Environment.
    • The default emission factors for purchased steam and purchased chilled water are the same as those used in the CarbonMAP (campuscarbon.com), and assume that these resources were produced using 50% natural gas and 50% distillate oil.
    • Emission factors for fuels in GRITS, such as natural gas or distillate oil, are not listed. GRITS sources all fuel emission factors from the U.S. government mandatory reporting rule factors.
GRITS Sign-in Page
Customizing carbon emission factors on the Settings page

 

  • Add a Custom Emissions Scenario
    • There are various reasons why your carbon emission factors may differ from GRITS’ defaults, such as having a cogeneration plant which provides electricity and steam for your campus, and thus you do not purchase electricity from the grid.
    • Click “add a custom emissions scenario” and fill in the pop-up form. First, enter a name for the custom emissions scenario. Next, select the resource type. Then choose the units you’ll use to express the quantity of CO2E being saved per unit of that resource. You may want to consider the units you typically enter into GRITS for projects that save the resource you selected (i.e. consider selecting lb/kWh or kg/kWh for electricity if you typically enter electricity-saving projects in kWh). You then have a choice of five scenarios that allow you to customize how your custom emission factors will be applied:
      • One factor for ALL years: This scenario applies your custom carbon emission factor to an entire project lifespan.
      • One factor for all years AFTER and including a given year: This scenario applies your custom carbon emission factor from a certain year forward. For example, entering “2014” and applying this scenario to a project would replace the project’s default emission factor starting in 2014 until the end of its project lifespan. Projects completed after 2014 that are modified by this scenario would have the custom emission factor apply for their entire project lifespan.
      • One factor for all years BEFORE a given year: This scenario applies your custom carbon emission factor for all years up to the year you enter. For example, entering “2014” and applying this scenario to a project would replace the project’s default emission factor for every year of its lifespan before 2014. Projects completed before 2014 that are modified by this scenario would have the custom emission factor apply for their entire project lifespan.
      • One factor for a RANGE of years: This scenario allows you to apply a single custom factor for a series of years, rather than extending infinitely in either direction like the previous scenarios.
      • Variable factors for a RANGE of years: This scenario allows you to apply different custom emission factors for each year over a series of years.
GRITS Sign-in Page
Adding a new custom carbon emission factor scenario

 

  • Edit or Delete a Custom Emissions Scenario
    • You can change the settings on a custom emissions scenario by clicking the “edit” button in the last column of the scenario table. The changes you make will automatically be applied to the projects and campuses modified by that scenario.
    • You can delete a custom emissions scenario by clicking the “delete” button in the last column of the scenario table.
  • Applying the Custom Emission Scenario on a Project-by-Project Basis
    • After creating a custom emissions scenario, you can apply it to individual projects. First, click on the Projects tab and enter the project you’d like to modify. Next, click on the Custom Settings sub-tab and click the slider to enable emissions scenarios. Uncheck the GRITS default box below the resource you’d like to modify, and select the custom emissions scenario to apply from the dropdown menu. Return to the Details sub-tab and click the slider to enable custom settings, which is located on the top-right corner of the page.
    • Custom emissions scenarios modify the emissions abated metric in the Savings Over Time table and the unit cost per MTCO2E metric in the Financial Metrics table. When custom emissions are enabled, a “‡” symbol will appear next to these items.
GRITS Sign-in Page
Applying a custom carbon emission factor (or a resource price scenario) to an individual project on the Project Detail page

 

GRITS Sign-in Page
Enabling custom settings to apply a custom carbon emission factor (or resource price scenario) on the Project Detail page

 

  • Applying the Custom Emission Scenario to a Campus
    • You can also apply custom emissions scenarios to a campus, which will modify all projects linked to that campus. First, click on the Facilities tab and then on the Campuses sub-tab. Click “edit” on the campus you’d like to modify. Next, select the scenario to apply from the custom emissions dropdown menu. You will only see menus for those resources for which you have created a custom emissions scenario. Hit the “save” button.
    • Campus-based custom emissions scenarios are automatically applied to all projects linked to that campus without switching on custom settings on your Project Detail pages.
    • You can override the campus-based custom emissions scenario for individual projects via their Custom Settings sub-tab. Just follow the instructions in the previous section for applying a scenario to a project.
    • Note that if a custom emissions scenario is currently applied to a project through its campus, you will see CAMPUS SCENARIO (X) with the scenario name in place of the X in the dropdown menu on the project’s Custom Settings sub-tab.
GRITS Sign-in Page
Applying a custom carbon emission factor (or a resource price scenario or unique currency) to a campus on the Editing Campus page
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