Using a carbon calculator
To be able to accurately and reliably measure your carbon footprint, the starting point is to use a carbon calculator. These are tools, usually available online, to which you can add your organisations operational activity, such as energy consumption, travel, waste etc. These calculators will then take that information and convert it into the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases to show you your "carbon footprint".
These convertors work by using conversion factors supplied by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and are updated annually. These conversion factors have calculated and attributed an amount of greenhouse gas to each kind of activity, for example driving 10 miles in a medium petrol car emits X amount of greenhouse gases. These can be found here: Government conversion factors for company reporting of greenhouse gas emissions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
This measurement is expressed in kgCo2e which stands for kilogram (kg) of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (e). This is because not all greenhouse gases emitted are carbon dioxide. Activities such as landfill waste can produce other gases such as methane and each different greenhouse gas has different effects. So by using the measurement of kgCO2e it allows us to express all greenhouse gases produced as one, simple figure.
So using a carbon calculator allows you to collect all of your measurable, relevant data, input it into this tool which will then convert your activities into a measurable amount of greenhouse gases that your operations emit- your "carbon footprint".
By measuring this it allows you to understand your emissions, realise where your biggest areas of emissions are, learn what changes will be most effective to reduce these and monitor their impact. Only by measuring your emissions will you be able to really make an impact in reduction.
There are several, easy to use carbon calculators available online such as these:
There is also the option of measuring the carbon footprint of your digital work:
MGS is working to develop one also and if you search online you can find many available options. It is always best to pick the carbon calculator which you find easiest to use and that can give you the level of detail you need.
A broader overview of carbon management can be found on our climate advice page here: Museums Galleries Scotland | Climate Action
If you have any questions or want to get in contact to talk about carbon management or any other environmental issues, please contact MGS’s Climate Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.