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Contents

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Carbon emissions associated with water use
    • Data collection for water
    • Measuring carbon emissions associated with water use
    • Opportunities for improving data collection for water
  • Carbon emissions associated with waste
    • Overview of waste management in the HE sector
    • Data collection for waste
    • Measuring carbon emissions associated with waste management
    • Opportunities for improving data collection for waste
    • Hazardous waste
    • Construction, demolition and excavation waste
  • Other sources of guidance and support
  • Annex A. Greenhouse gas emissions conversion factors
  • Annex B. National waste datasets
  • Annex C. Worked examples for estimating carbon emissions from water and waste
  • Terms and acronyms

Executive summary

Purpose

1.   This guidance provides higher education institutions (HEIs) with information on how to calculate scope 3 carbonsee note 1 emissions generated by water and waste. It aims to help HEIs adopt efficient and effective data collection practices and includes examples of good practice within the HE sector.

Key points

2.   In January 2011 HEFCE commissioned work to assist in measuring scope 3 emissions from HEIs in England. Ove Arup and Partners Ltd (Arup) and De Montfort University were appointed to provide:

  • a set of draft data definitions to measure scope 3 carbon emissions from waste and water within the Estate Management Statistics (EMS) reporting system
  • good practice guidance supporting the draft definitions to help HEIs adopt efficient and effective data collection practices in order to measure their scope 3 emissions
  • a report that provides necessary background information, findings, justification for the choice of definitions and recommendations.see note 2

3.   This document presents the good practice guidance noted above, which is intended to help HEIs measure their water and waste scope 3 emissions. The document includes:

  • background to carbon emissions associated with water and waste
  • information on the new water and waste definitions for the EMS monitoring system
  • step-by-step guidance for measuring carbon emissions associated with water, wastewater and waste
  • worked examples for estimating carbon emissions for water and waste
  • opportunities for improving water and waste data collection
  • carbon conversion factors
  • case studies from the HE sector
  • other sources of guidance and support.

4.   This guidance has been developed following extensive research, consultation and analysis. From the research, it is clear that the methods identified for measuring carbon emissions associated with water, wastewater and waste require good data collection and management by HEIs. Improving the robustness of data collection will improve the accuracy of reported emissions. Accurate measurement enables institutions to understand how they consume water and generate waste, and helps them identify areas where simple changes could make significant impacts on cost and environmental efficiency.

5.   The method for measuring carbon emissions associated with water and waste is based on the guidelines for greenhouse gas (GHG) company reporting of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) . It was considered that this methodology would provide consistency and the ability to monitor long-term changes in practice towards resource efficiency in the HE sector.

6.   Many HEIs have good data on water and wastewater, reported through the EMS. Calculating carbon emissions associated with water and wastewater is therefore likely to be a relatively straightforward case of multiplying water and wastewater data by the relevant carbon conversion factor.

7.   In contrast, the scope of data collection amongst HEIs in relation to waste and recycling data are varied in terms of quantity and quality. A tiered approach to measuring carbon emissions from waste has therefore been identified, which is accessible to institutions with very limited data on waste through to institutions with good quality data.

8.   Guidance on measuring scope 3 emissions from transport is contained in 'Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions - transport. A guide to good practice' (HEFCE 2012/02).

Action required

9.   HEIs will be able to report scope 3 carbon emissions from water and waste through the Estate Management Statistics, collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), from 2012-13.


Notes

  1. In this document 'carbon' is used as shorthand for greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. 'Measuring scope 3 carbon emissions – waste and water. Report to HEFCE by Arup and De Montfort University'.
  3. '2010 Guidelines to Defra / DECC's GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting'.