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Clean Air-Cool Planet releases Campus Carbon Calculator

Clean Air-Cool Planet, an organization working to accelerate the transition to sustainable communities through climate mitigation, adaptation planning, and effective climate policies, recently launched the new Web-based Carbon Management and Analysis Platform.

(CarbonMAP), the next iteration of its popular Campus Carbon Calculator tool used by more than 2,000 institutions across the globe to measure and manage energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Created in a partnership between Clean Air-Cool Planet and Sightlines LLC, CarbonMAP allows users to track and reduce their carbon footprints more efficiently and effectively than before.


The new Web-based CarbonMAP allows schools to better track, analyze and reduce their campus's contribution to climate change.
The launch of the platform comes after more than two years of development, user-interviews, workshops, and beta testing, says Clean Air-Cool Planet. Support from The Verizon Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and individual donors make this powerful new Web tool free for users at least through the end of 2013, distinguishing it from other available "enterprise carbon accounting" tools.

Aside from allowing for a greatly enhanced user experience, CarbonMAP will also comprise the most extensive body of aggregated campus energy, climate and sustainability metrics ever compiled, says Clean Air-Cool Planet. With this data, the organization will be creating reports that illuminate trends, shared challenges and opportunities for institutions seeking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the transition from Excel to the Web will allow for automated transfer of information between CarbonMAP and other widely used sustainability tracking tools, including the reporting site for the American College & University President's Climate Commitment (ACUPCC); the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)'s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS); and the Sustainable Endowments Institute's Green Revolving Investment Tracking System (GRITS).

The high demand for this tool has been exemplified not only by the sheer number of downloads of the Excel version, but also by the fact that it has been stretched beyond its initial purpose by users. For example, K-12 schools have also used the calculator although it was originally developed for institutions of higher education. Furthermore, users in other countries and outside academia have customized the tool to suit their needs simply because there is no other tool of this caliber, says the organization.

Although the Web-based Campus Carbon Calculator is highly customizable, the default emission factors and calculations are the result of years of research into best practices on carbon accounting for campuses, points out Clean Air-Cool Planet. The tool was originally developed in partnership with the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 2001.

The version of CarbonMAP launched this week only includes the "Inventory" module of the existing Campus Carbon Calculator, which allows users to determine their baseline carbon footprints. Currently under development for future integration and release are the following: the Campus Carbon Calculator's "Projections" and "Solutions" modules, which allow users to determine how to cost-effectively meet their carbon reduction goals; a Coal Waste module and mobile app, which will highlight the indirect impacts of coal dependence and the potential benefits of both fuel-switching and divestment; a Project Library of sample GHG mitigation project data drawn from real-life campus projects; CA-CP's Charting Emissions from Food Services calculator; benchmarking and comparison tools; communication and outreach tools; and "upstream" energy emissions calculations.

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