5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Software Solution

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Management Software: What to Look For

It’s been ten years since the EPA introduced mandatory greenhouse gas reporting for large emission sources in the United States. In the last decade, we have seen increasing scrutiny on the environmental impact of corporations and organizations. Consumers are looking to support organizations that meet ambitious sustainability goals and markets are responding accordingly with an explosion in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and sustainable investing options. Whether you’re looking to monitor air emissions for voluntary or mandatory reporting, greenhouse gas (GHG) software plays a critical role in ensuring you have a single system of record to accurately manage huge volumes of data from scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

To help you find the GHG software that will best meet your needs, we’ve put together a list of some key questions you will want to ask your potential software providers when selecting a system. Your GHG software solution will ultimately help you accurately manage large quantities of data, avoid costly errors, and reduce the time needed for reporting.  

1. How Does Your GHG Software Support My Sustainability Goals?  

Many companies are setting ambitious sustainability goals and a system that helps you maintain compliance with mandatory reporting should also be able to help you gain insights to analyze trends and make changes to meet carbon reduction goals. Because the ability to make operational changes quickly relies on the frequency of data being sent, look for GHG software that allows data to be sent on a daily basis, enabling you to see real-time trends and take action where needed. As data is imported or entered, you should be able to continuously monitor against monthly or quarterly targets both at individual facilities, as well as easily aggregate data across global operations. 

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2. What are the Calculation Capabilities of the GHG Software System?  

Depending on what kind of reports you are creating, you may need more or less complex calculation capabilities. Often, organizations need to use the same data to create a variety of different calculations in order to meet the requirements of different kinds of reports such as GRI or CDP. 

Look for a GHG Software system that can:  

• Automatically associate the data values with dates and time frames, both past, present and future  

• Perform calendar and rolling aggregations, such as sums, averages, counts, etc.  

• Evaluate whether data exists for specific dates and times or for periods of time (required for frequency analysis)  

• Produce logic based results (if/then instructions)  

• Compare calculated results to allowed or desired ranges or limits 

3. Does the System Issue Tasks and Reminders? 

In order to create a comprehensive data set, manual entry is often required for some data, so it‘s important to have a GHG software solution that prompts the data entry tasks and tracks the performance of these activities to completion. If the task is not completed, the system should issue reminders and escalations to ensure its visibility. These simple task functions should be augmented by more sophisticated tasking capabilities, such as automatic triggering of tasks when data is missing, when sample intervals are not adequate, or when GHG emissions reach pre-determined levels for individual facilities. These automated tasks should be accompanied by the response forms used by the facility to document corrective actions. 

4. Does the GHG Software Integrate Seamlessly with other IT Systems?  

Looking for a SaaS-based system with a robust set of APIs is a good place start. Beyond the obvious answer that it can be integrated with other systems, look for a system and vendor with a proven track record of integrations with a variety of systems. Particularly, look for a system that is currently integrated with CEMS (Continuous Emissions Monitoring System), process historians, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems, and ERP systems at multi-facility corporations.  

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5. How Does the Solution Integrate Greenhouse Gas Emissions with other Environmental Programs? 

For companies presently subject to other major Clean Air Act regulatory programs such as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), Hazardous Air Pollutant standards (HAPs), Ozone Depleting Substance rules, and New Source Review permits, it is vitally important to maintain a single, consistent set of emissions calculations when documenting compliance with these multiple programs

Ideally you should input data once and then the system is able to perform a variety of calculations to support multiple regulatory requirements, saving time and money by avoiding duplicate data entry, while ensuring the integrity of the data at the same time.