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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you initially provide a range for the carbon balance?

Carbon Title estimates the CO2 emissions for each building based on a variety of high-quality data sources including some publicly available information. Because some data about specific buildings is only available to the building’s owner, we estimate both the worst-case (high-carbon materials and high energy use) and best-case (low-carbon materials, efficient energy use) scenarios, which leads to the range of carbon emissions.

As property owners add more specific data and claim a building, the accuracy of the carbon balance increases and the Explorer starts displaying a single carbon balance number versus an estimated range.

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How is a building's carbon balance calculated?

The “carbon balance” of a building is made up of its base emissions (both embodied and operational carbon) minus any carbon reduction actions taken, including any offsets purchased and applied to the building. We depreciate embodied carbon over a 60-year timeframe.

The building’s base emissions are estimated using key data points about the building including its structure type (e.g. mass timber, concrete & steel), primary usage (e.g. office, residence), size, and location. Our model is also built based on geography and takes into account regional differences in building materials, the percent of renewable energy on the local electric grid, and other factors.

As property owners add more detailed information about a building, its ongoing energy usage, and any mitigation actions (e.g. solar panels, usage of low-carbon materials), the accuracy of its carbon balance increases. 

Learn more about our methodology here.

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Where does the data come from?

Carbon Title uses data obtained from a variety of high-quality sources including publicly available data and third-party data providers. Our clients also provide data for projects that are under construction.

Despite aggregating all of these sources, there may still be buildings for which we don’t have the necessary information to calculate carbon emissions. It’s important for property owners and stakeholders to contribute detailed data for their buildings to help build out a more complete and accurate resource.

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How is the depreciation of carbon calculated?

We depreciate the first-year embodied carbon emissions for a building over an assumed 60-year lifespan. This recognizes the value of reusing existing structures vs. new construction, while ensuring that building-related emissions for older buildings don’t disappear when it changes hands.

You’ll see this reflected on a building’s carbon title:

Carbon emissions depreciation module showing the age of the building against a 60-year lifespan, applied to the relevant carbon estimates for the materials used and the construction of the building.
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What does Scope 1, 2 & 3 mean?

This is a widely accepted method of carbon accounting developed by Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In a nutshell:

Scope 1 covers direct emissions (e.g. fuel burned on-site)

Scope 2 covers energy used

From a building perspective in Carbon Title, Scopes 1 & 2 are considered operational carbon emissions.

Scope 3 covers indirect emissions, including embodied carbon from materials used in a building and the process of construction.

You can read more about this protocol here.

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