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Using a carbon calculator

Carbon calculators help reliably measure your carbon footprint. They’re predominantly online tools, where you add operational activity, such as energy consumption, travel, waste etc. The calculators then convert this information into the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases to show your ‘carbon footprint’.  

The calculators use conversion factors from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. These factors are updated annually. These factors show how much greenhouse gas is linked to different activities. They measure in kgCO2e, meaning kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent. This helps because not all greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide. For instance, landfill waste creates methane gases. Using kgCO2e makes it easy to express all the greenhouse gases as one simple number. 

Calculating your carbon footprint helps you see how much emissions you create, and changes that can be made to reduce and monitor the impact of them.

An organisation’s emissions are usually split into three areas:

  • Scope 1: These are direct emissions from things the organisation controls, like on-site energy use and emissions from their own vehicles.
  • Scope 2: These are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, or cooling used by the organisation.
  • Scope 3: These are emissions from indirect actions related to the organisation’s operations, like supply chain, staff/volunteer travel, and anything else connected to the organisation but not directly controlled by it.

Further resources

There are several easy to use carbon calculators available online:

Using digital software, websites, and cloud storage also adds to your carbon footprint. The eminsions from this is often overlooked. These separate calculators focus only on digital operations:

A broader overview of carbon management can be found on our climate advice page: Museums Galleries Scotland – Climate Action