Sustainability

Frequently Asked Questions

The following list of questions should provide answers to any query you might have about ACE and organisational carbon footprinting. If not please contact us.
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Our business recycles its paper and card and composts its green waste. What are the implications of this to our waste emissions?

By recycling and/or composting these components of your waste you are removing the organic matter that would otherwise go to landfill. With no organic matter going to landfill, there will be no (well, very little) methane produced and you can therefore forget about waste as an input for ACE.

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Are the emission factors applied in ACE life cycle emission factors?

No they are not. They only calculate the emissions of your activities as they take place (with the exception of electricity and waste – see below) and not upstream or downstream processes. This may sound confusing and is better explained with an example.

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My waste profile does not match either of those set up in ACE. What should I do?

ACE has two waste profiles that it can determine emissions from. If your waste profile differs radically from either of them, you may need ACE customised.

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I note that ACE only calculates emissions from the paper, card and food components of a waste profile. Why is this?

Emissions for waste are the result of biodegradation of organic matter under anaerobic conditions. Things that you think of as compostable, when sent to landfill, are broken down by microbes and this produces methane.

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Can I have ACE customised to use vehicle specific fuel conversion rates when calculating emissions from vehicle use?

Yes you can. The default vehicle settings for ACE are based on three generic vehicle sizes – small, medium, and large – and apply fuel conversion rates taken from DEFRA for each. These are listed in the Vehicle Efficiency tab in ACE however users can change these conversion rates.

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Should I include electricity distribution line losses in my determination?

This is entirely up to you. These losses are the result of inefficiencies in the grid and are therefore outside of your control. As such they are Scope 3 emissions which you are not obliged to include (see question on Frequently Asked Questions page on Scope), however as they are real and are the result of you purchasing the electricity you may wish to take responsibility and account for them.

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I purchase my electricity from a carbon neutral electricity supplier. What are the implications of this?

The electricity generation profiles of suppliers around the country all differ depending on location and source. Some will supply electricity generated purely from renewable sources that generate no emissions, others will supply electricity generated by fuel combustion at thermal power stations, and many will supply a mix

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Can I add a new input to ACE?

Absolutely. If it is for an activity that generates greenhouse gases, then it should and can be added. In developing ACE every emission source was considered but only the most likely were included in the interests of keeping the tool simple. Sources overlooked include....

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I wish to change the units for one of the inputs in ACE (replace GJ with kWh for gas). Can this be done?

Yes. ACE can be customised to meet most needs, including unit changes for existing inputs like fuels and waste. Please contact Catalyst R&D Ltd to discuss your personal customisation needs.

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Where are the emission factors used in ACE sourced from?

The New Zealand version of ACE uses emission factors (EFs) released annually by the Ministry for the Environment. These are the factors that the NZ Government apply when determining New Zealand’s National GHG inventory (i.e. the total GHG emissions of the country). ACE (Aus) sources its emission factors from the Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE).

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I read that when measuring business emissions you don't have to include emissions from all sources. What is compulsory?

To understand this you need to understand the principles of scope and boundary as they relate to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and international standard ISO-14064.

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I wish to report my emissions over a period other than the Apr - Mar financial year. Can ACE be changed to accommodate this?

In the past Catalyst has customized ACE for users wanting the reporting period changed, for a small fee. With ACE 2011, a free function has been added that allows users to change the period to one of four options.

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