Please let us know if there are additional topics you would like to see in the FAQs. Below are questions and answers organized into the following sections: Account Management, Using SIMAP, Methodology in SIMAP, Greenhouse Gas Protocol, Nitrogen Footprint, and University of New Hampshire.
How do I change the information for the account owner?
You can change the contact information for the owner by clicking on the My Account link at the top right of the page and then changing the information. Our best practices recommendation is that you create an alias for this account so that you can add people from your institution to the account without having to change the owner each time someone moves on.
What is the difference between the user roles?
These roles are relevant for Tier 1 only. In a Basic account there in only one user—the owner. No additional users can be added to a basic account.
- Owner – Creates the account and has full range of functionality.
- Super Users can do all the things an Owner can, including editing users and deleting years of data. However, Super Users cannot edit the user details for another Super User or Owner. That applies to Owners as well – they cannot edit the super users’ account details. To edit your own name, follow the My Account link in the top right.
- Editors can add and update data and have access to all data entry fields. Editors can also run results/report, export data, etc. Editors do not have access to the ‘Manage Users’ page and cannot delete years of data.
- Reviewers can only view data and results. Reviewers cannot add/update source data or import/export. Reviewers can write notes in the Notebook (on the Account tab), which can be used for Reviewers to note any comments or questions they have.
My account expired. Does my data stay in my account after it expires? Can I reactivate my account after my free Basic or paid Tier 1 account expired? How long do I have before the account is deleted?
Your data will remain in your account after it expires, but you will not be able to access it without reactivating your account. If you had a free Basic account, then you will have to upgrade to Tier 1 to be able to see the data you already entered and to add new data. If you had a paid Tier 1 account that expired, then you can reactive at any time by paying for a new annual Tier 1 membership and your data will be available in your account. If you had a basic account and it expired and you do not upgrade to Tier 1, then you will have to create a new account to complete your inventory updates. This will mean entering your historic data again (manually) as well as the current year’s data to track your accurate long-term progress against your baseline.
After purchasing a Tier 1 account, how long will it be before I have access to the Tier 1 functionality?
Please allow 1 business day for your SIMAP account to be upgraded to Tier 1. We upgrade the accounts manually in the SIMAP system, and we have limited staffing to keep subscription license costs low. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com. Thank you for your patience!
How can I contact the SIMAP team? How soon can I expect a response?
There are three options for contacting the SIMAP team. You can submit a question through this Google Form, you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can leave a voicemail at 603-862-2954. Please note that we do not have a direct phone line--just a voicemail. Please allow up to 3 business days for a response to your question. Thank you for your patience!
Where should I start?
First, you will need to set up your account and describe your institution. The steps are:
- Start with the "1. Account" tab, which can be found in the top left of the screen. Click the "Institution" link on the left panel and enter information about your institution. Note that anything marked with * is mandatory.
- Enter any other relevant information on the "1. Account tab" under the following links found on the left panel: Goals, Programs/Initiatives, Budgets, Physical spaces, and Populations. Note that these other sections are not mandatory to calculate your footprint. However, data sets describing institution characteristics will be necessary to view normalizations on the results tab, such as the population and gross square footage.
- The "Notebook" link is a space where you can record notes about your data entry, next steps, or anything else you would like to record.
After you have entered your institution information, you can begin entering your institution's inventory data under the '2. Data entry' tab. This section is organized by scope. We also have a training module on account set up and data entry on our training page.
How do I import data?
You can import the current CCC Excel spreadsheet version 7.0 - 9.1. You can request to have your data from CarbonMAP emailed to you and then import the zip folder into SIMAP. The link to upload your spreadsheet can be found under the "Data Mgmt" tab in the left menu. This feature is available for Tier 1 only.
Can I import data from the CCC and CarbonMAP?
Yes, you can. Each import will have a prefix of CCC of CMAP in front of the data set. You may end up with duplicate values if you had data in both systems for the same fields. Make sure you check each data set you import to avoid double counting! This feature is available for Tier 1 subscribers only.
Can I keep using the CCC spreadsheet to calculate my footprint?
The Excel-based Campus Carbon Calculator (CCC) tool has been discontinued. UNHSI is no longer updating emission factors and methodology for the tool, which means that it no longer provides an accurate calculation of your emissions. UNHSI has also discontinued user support for the CCC. Please do not use older versions of the CCC to calculate your footprint.
For consistency and continued ease of data collection, we’ve made a workbook with the CCC “input worksheets” available for download for any users who would like to continue to track inventory input data in that format. You can import your data from the input data worksheets into SIMAP to calculate results based on the most accurate and up-to-date factors and methodologies available. There are two ways to enter your data: 1) You can manually copy over your data into SIMAP, or 2) you can upload your spreadsheet (either a previous versions of the CCC or the data tracking file) into SIMAP with a Tier 1 account.
My data set has not imported correctly. Why?
The import keeps reading all the Input tabs until there are no more rows to read and these rows have years and columns where data is expected, so their values overwrite the ones above. If you have any extra information on any of the input sheets, this information may end up in your data set. Make sure you delete anything outside the table with your data.
How do I enter inventory data into SIMAP?
All institution data entry takes place under the "2. Data entry" tab. The data entry categories are organized by scope in the left panel. Each link will take you to a page with two sections: A green button that says "Enter Data" and a summary of the data already entered. To enter a data point, please do the following:
- Click the appropriate link in the left panel in the "Data entry" section.
- Click the green "Enter data" button
- Fill out the data entry form. Note that anything marked * is mandatory.
- Click the green "Add data" button to add that data point to your inventory.
- Continue this process until you have entered all data points for a given source.
How is the biogenic footprint calculated? Where can I view the results?
Following the GHG Protocol guidelines, SIMAP separates out biogenic emissions of carbon. Biogenic CO2 refers to carbon in wood, paper, grass trimmings, and other biofuels that was originally removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis and, under natural conditions, would eventually cycle back to the atmosphere as CO2 due to degradation processes. The biogenic footprint is currently calculated as a percentage of the CO2 footprint for all biofuels. The following biogenic percentages are used in the SIMAP calculations for biofuels:
- Wood chips, wood pellets, and grass pellets: 100% biogenic
- Residual bioheat and distillate bioheat: 100% biogenic
- B100: 100% biogenic
- E85: 85% biogenic
- B20: 20% biogenic
- B5: 5% biogenic
- Incinerated waste: 53% biogenic
- Ethanol: 100% biogenic
Please note that these percentages are currently 'hard-coded' into the SIMAP calculations. When the 2019 version of emissions factors is released in summer 2019, we will release a more transparent and possibly customizable calculation of the biogenic footprint. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com
The biogenic footprint can only be viewed in the 'total footprint' results view. The same is true for other footprint calculations that only apply to the total footprint (e.g., sinks, offsets, compost).
Where can I view the emission factors used for calculating my footprint?
The emission factors used in your account can be viewed on 4 pages on the Data Entry tab:
- Emission factors - This page includes all scope 1, scope 3, and sink/offset emission factors. It does NOT include scope 2 or food emission factors.
- Utility emission factors - T his page includes all scope 2 emission factors (purchased electricity, steam, chilled water, T&D losses).
- Food conversion factors - This page displays all factors used in the food footprint calculations.
- Global warming potenetial - This page lists the GWP used for the major greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O) and refrigerants/chemicals. The factors displayed vary based on the global warming potential version you selected on the Data Mgmt tab.
If you have a Tier 1 or Tier 2 subscription, y ou can also customize your emission factors using the links above.
Why are the eCO2 emission factors blank for most categories?
The emission factors only populate when relevant/available for a given source. The eCO2 factor is a unique case—we only use eCO2 factors (i.e., factors that combine CO2, CH4, and N2O into a single eCO2 factor) for categories that only have reported emission factors in the eCO2 format. The only 2 sources that have eCO2 factors in SIMAP are paper and compost.
In general, we prefer to use emission factors broken out by CO2, CH4, and N2O to allow campuses to calculate emissions by pollutant and to be adaptable when new IPCC reports release updated global warming potential versions. All other categories will have emission factors across CO2, CH4, and N2O, when applicable.
I want to add a chemical or refrigerant that is not on the drop down list. How do I do that?
Go to 2. Data Entry tab, then scroll down until you see Calculation Factors heading. Select Global Warming Potential from the list. Click on the green button that says Add Refrigerant of Chemical. Enter name and then the global warming potential of that item. You will be able to see it on the dropdown list in refrigerants or chemicals after you select Other ► then your new chemical should appear in the next dropdown picklist.
How do I calculate the efficiency of a cogen plant?
You should start by asking the folks who run your plant. If they can’t or won’t answer, it’s fine to use default values. GHG Protocol recommends a default thermal efficiency of 80% and default electric efficiency of 35%. https://www.epa.gov/chp/methods-calculating-chp-efficiency
I want to add total mileage in the commuter section. How do I do that?
Process to enter total miles traveled into the commuter data entry field.
- Select the category: students/faculty/staff
- Enter number of commuters: 1*
- Enter number of trips: 1*
- Enter commuting weeks per date range: 1*
- Then enter 100% in automobile field and the total number of miles traveled for the year in the mileage field.
*Notes: these values are there to allow the system to register a value and not to multiply it by the mileage. If you enter 0, it will not work.
- Enter the number of commuters, weeks, and the trips into the notes section to track the actual numbers and any other comments or information which may be relevant to the data.
Here are the calculations which are used in the platform. If you have carpool miles, you can divide them in half and add to the total automobile miles for the purpose of calculating the emissions.
Total Distance = ((Total Trips / Week * Weeks / Year * % Trips Driven Alone * Miles / Trip) + (Total Trips / Week * Weeks / Year * % Carpool * Miles / Trip % Carpool)/2)
Fuel Consumption =
Total Distance / Fuel Efficiency
I would like to enter data on behalf of another institution and get results. How should I do it?
It is our recommendation that each institution sets up and pays for their own account and then adds users as needed to provide others (e.g. consultants, interns, etc.) the ability to input data, create reports, and provide recommendations on their course of action. This will enable each institution to keep their data in the same place, compare their results year over year and to track their progress in emission reductions. The institution will have control over their data should they choose to do something different in the future, minimizing the need to transfer account data between users.
How can I view my results?
The results dashboard (tab '3. Results' across the top) gives you the following options for viewing your data:
- Footprints: Select the carbon and/or nitrogen boxes to indicate which graph(s) you would like to view.
- Report type: Your institution's footprint results can be shown as the total footprint, by scope, by category, by source, or by gas/pollutant.
- Graph type: You can view a line or bar graph.
- Normalization: The options selected above can then be normalized by a variety of metrics. Note that you will have needed to enter your institution's relevant information under the "1. Account" tab to use normalizations.
- Year range: Make sure the selected year range matches up with the data sets you entered.
After selecting the above options, click "Calculate" to view your results. You will then see a carbon and/or nitrogen graph. The detailed results will be presented in tables below the graphs, organized by the report type you selected.
You can also view the annual summary of your results under the Reports tab. This feature is available for Tier 1 subscribers only.
Why is my result different from CCC/CarbonMAP?
SIMAP has been updated with the most recent Emissions Factors data, as well as more recent calculation based on WRI recommendations. We will be posting all the calculations in the Reference section. You can also read What has changed from CCC and CarbonMAP to SIMAP page for additional information.
How does my data get from SIMAP to the Second Nature reporting system?
SIMAP generates a report specific to Second Nature reporting under the Reports tab. After you use SIMAP to calculate your emissions data, you can go to the Second Nature reporting system and pull your data in from SIMAP. We call this the Second Nature API. This feature is available for Tier 1 users only. See this document for detailed instructions on how to use the Second Nature API.
A complete of the data points transferred via the API can be found in these instructions and on the reports tab when 'Second Nature' is selected from the reports drop-down. The data points transferred with the API include:
- Scope 1 emissions (stationary combustion, mobile combustion, fugitive emissions)
- Scope 2 emissions (purchased electricity, cooling, and steam)
- Some scope 3 emissions (commuting, air travel [including both directly financed and study abroad air travel])
- Total purchased electricity consumption and thermal energy consumption
- Renewable energy purchases and whether those credits were retained
- Gross square feet of building space
- Total student enrollment (FTE)
Please note that several data points that are entered into SIMAP and can also be entered in the Second Nature reporting system are not transferred via the API. Those data points include:
- Biogenic footprint
- Purchased and sold offsets
- Carbon sequestration
- Some demographic information (e.g., detailed populations, gross square footage)
- T&D losses from electricity (scope 3)
If you would like to report these data points in your Annual Progress Evaluation, then you will need to enter them again in Second Nature's reporting system.
For more information on reporting to Second Nature, please visit the Second Nature Reporting page.
Which version of emission factors should I use?
The recommended practice is to use the current recommended emission factor version (2019 version) for ALL years of your calculation. Every version of emission factors extends back to 1990 in SIMAP. However, historic emission factors can change in new versions for two reasons:
- New data sets become available. For example, there is usually a 2-year lag time in when eGrid releases the purchased electricity emission factors. This means until today, we had been using 2016 eGrid emission factors for 2016 and all subsequent years. eGrid just released the 2018 emission factors last month, so that means that your calculated footprints for 2017 and 2018 will change a little bit with these new and more accurate emission factors.
- New methodologies are recommended. This happens when the GHG Protocol recommends a new methodology that does a better job of estimating emissions.
In general, this is an important reminder that footprint results are always estimates based on the best available data at the time. As our understanding improves and as new data sets become available, we are able to refine our current and historic results. Select your emissions factor version on the calculation sources and methods form.
Which scope 2 method should I use?
The GHG Protocol recommends two appraoches: Location-based and market-based. The custom fuel mix is no longer a recommended method. See the purchased electricity methodology page for more information on the three scope 2 methods that are available in SIMAP. Select your scope 2 method on the calculation sources and methods form.
How does SIMAP calculate weighted campus users on the populations page?
SIMAP now uses weighted campus user as a per capita metric to align with AASHE STARS. The CCC used per capita metrics of number of full-time equivalents and community members.
The following language from AASHE STARS explains the weighted campus user metric:
- “Weighted campus user” is a measurement of an institution’s population that is adjusted to accommodate how intensively certain community members use the campus. This figure is used to normalize resource consumption and environmental impact figures in order to accommodate the varied impacts of different population groups.
- For example, an institution where a high percentage of students live on campus would witness higher greenhouse gas emissions, waste generation, and water consumption figures than otherwise comparable nonresidential institution since students’ residential impacts and consumption would be included in the institution’s totals.
- SIMAP calculates the figure according to the following formula. Please note that users will not have to calculate this figure themselves; the result will be calculated automatically when the data are entered into change to SIMAP.
- Weighted campus users = (A + B + C) + 0.75 [ (D - A) + (E - B) – F ]
- A= Number of students resident on-site
- B= Number of employees resident on-site
- C= Number of other individuals resident on-site and/or staffed hospital beds
- D= Total full-time equivalent student enrollment
- E= Full-time equivalent of employees (staff + faculty)
- F= Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education"
Does SIMAP calculate emissions associated with both the production and application of fertilizers?
SIMAP calculates the emissions associated with the application of lawn fertilizers on campus for fertilizer data input; these are part of your Scope 1 emissions. Emissions from production of those fertilizers—which, since they occur upstream, would be considered Scope 3 emissions, are not included in SIMAP at this time. They will be included as part of Scope 3 purchasing emissions for the Tier 2 version of the tool that will be released next fall. Emissions from fertilizer production involved in producing the food purchased by campus dining ARE included in the Scope 3 food emissions category.
Why is recycling not considered an offset, while composting is considered an offset?
The chemical process of composting actually sequesters carbon in the compost/soil, so it results in a net loss of carbon to the atmosphere. That is why it is calculated as an offset. (It also AVOIDS emissions by keeping stuff out of the landfill, but that is not what is being reflected in the offset calculation.) Recycling, like composting, avoids emissions by keeping materials out of the landfill—but that impact is reflected in the fact that your emissions from solid waste disposal are not as high as they would have been if you had sent more of that stuff to the landfill. That is true for recycling, composting and any other diversion activities.
Do air travel emissions include a radiative forcing factor?
Yes! SIMAP accounts for radiative forcing for all air travel CO2 emissions. Radiative forcing is associated with emissions at higher altitudes and results in a higher global warming potential. The radiative forcing factor used in SIMAP is 2.7, and this factor is multiplied by the air travel emissions factor (see the emissions factors page). The SIMAP calculation is as follows:
Passenger miles * air travel CO2 emissions factor * 2.7 radiative forcing factor
Please note that this is a change from the CCC, which had the radiative forcing factor built in to the air travel emissions factor. In SIMAP, the 2.7 multiplication is separate from the emissions factor and is hard-coded into the SIMAP calculations. However, the result will be the same.
Does SIMAP use a lower or higher heating value for emission factor calculations?
Fuels have a higher heating value (HHV, also called a Gross Caloric Value, GCV) and a lower heating value (LHV, also called a Net Caloric Value, NCV). The HHV is the quantity of heat that would be liberated by the complete combustion of one unit of fuel, if the produced water vapor was completely condensed and the heat from it recovered. The LHV takes the HHV and subtracts the heat content of the water vapor. The LHV provides a better estimate of the real-world heat value of a fuel, as most of the heat contained in water vapor is not recovered. Emissions factors are calibrated for either the HHV or LHV, and must be used with the corresponding fuel heating value. Following the US EPA’s example, SIMAP’s emissions factors are calibrated for HHVs. If you replace any of the heating values or emissions factors in SIMAP, be sure to use HHVs or factors calibrated for HHVs. If you are entering a custom fuel, be sure that the heating value and emissions factors you enter are compatible.
What is the difference between an implementation profile, a GHG emissions report, a climate action plan, and a progress report? When are they all due?
Second Nature provides a helpful timeline for signatories with resources to help you with each report here.
How was the Greenhouse Gas Protocol created?
The GHG Protocol arose from an initiative by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). These two NPOs realized that an international GHG accounting and reporting standard would be necessary in light of climate change. In 1997, managers from WRI and WBSCD met to launch an NGO-business partnership to address methods for GHG accounting. They then met with environmental and industry groups to guide the stakeholder standards development process. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard was published in 2001. Since its publication, tools to assist agencies with data calculation have been created, along with guidance documents. WRI and WBSCD have also partnered with governments, companies and non-governmental organizations to help them adopt the GHG Protocol as the foundation for climate change strategies. (Greenhouse Gas Protocol, 2012)
How does selling renewable energy credits (RECs) impact my GHG inventory/footprint?
The selling of RECs will not impact your inventory directly. If your campus produces RECs and sells them, this money could be contributed to a Green Revolving Fund (GRF). This fund can be used to fund campus improvements that contribute to emission reductions. This is one way that selling RECs can indirectly impact your GHG inventory/footprint.
What is a nitrogen footprint?
A nitrogen footprint is the total amount of reactive nitrogen released to the environment as a result of an entity's resource consumption. The major areas of resource consumption that release reactive nitrogen include food production and energy consumption. Reactive nitrogen is necessary to food production (all plants and animals need nitrogen to grow), but excess reactive nitrogen is lost to the environment through pathways such as fertilizer runoff, processing waste, manure management, and food waste. Reactive nitrogen is emitted to the atmospheric as a by-product of fossil fuel combustion.
What is 'reactive nitrogen'?
Reactive nitrogen (Nr) includes all forms of nitrogen that are biologically, photochemically, and radiatively active. Compounds of nitrogen that are reactive include the following: the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrate (NO3-), nitrite (NO2-), ammonia (NH3), and ammonium (NH4+). Reactive forms of nitrogen are those capable of cascading through the environment and causing an environmental impact such as smog, acid rain, eutrophication, biodiversity loss, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change. The non-reactive form of nitrogen is N2 and makes up about 80% of our atmosphere. This form of nitrogen does not contribute to the environmental impacts noted above. Unless otherwise noted, the term “nitrogen” or “N” throughout SIMAP refers to “reactive nitrogen” – not its non-reactive diatomic form.
Is there any overlap between the carbon and nitrogen footprint?
The carbon and nitrogen footprint have overlap for one gas: nitrous oxide (N2O). Both a greenhouse gas and a form of reactive nitrogen, N2O is included in both the carbon and nitrogen footprint accounting. It is reported in both footprints because it contributes to impacts in addition to climate change and the two footprints are reported separately. It should be noted that N2O makes up a very small portion of the nitrogen footprint.
Where can I read more about campus nitrogen footprints?
Read the Special Issue on Nitrogen Footprints in Sustainability: The Journal of Record, a peer-reviewed journal. The special issue highlights the following papers:
- Calculating institution nitrogen footprints creates connections across campus
- The Nitrogen Footprint Tool Network: A multi-institution program to reduce nitrogen pollution
- Adding a nitrogen footprint to Colorado State University's sustainability plan
- Reducing the nitrogen footprint of a small residential college
- Comparing institution nitrogen footprints: Metrics for assessing and tracking environmental impact
- Assessing the social and environmental costs of institution nitrogen footprints
- Defining system boundaries of an institution nitrogen footprint
- Leveraging the nitrogen footprint to increase campus sustainability
- An integrated tool for calculating and reducing institution carbon and nitrogen footprints
Can I calculate my personal nitrogen footprint?
Does UNH have a climate action plan (CAP)? What is its goal? Is it on track?
UNH has a CAP, which is called WildCAP. The goal of WildCAP is to reduce GHG emissions by 50% in 2020 and by 80% in 2050. The baseline for this goal is 2001. The Energy Task Force (ETF), which was established in 2005, and the Sustainability Institute oversee the WildCAP. WildCAP is on track and it is actually ahead of schedule due to EcoLine. EcoLine allows UNH to produce energy using the methane gas produced by a nearby landfill. UNH sells RECs to pay for the project. You can find past UNH GHG inventory reports here.
What is the relationship between Second Nature and UNH?
UNH is a signatory of The Presidents' Climate Leadership Commitments. It is also the managing agency for the SIMAP, which is the calculation tool most recommended by the Second Nature for GHG emissions calculation.