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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Carbon Title verify that building records are accurate?

Property owners must verify ownership via public records, and only owners are able to modify data associated with the building. Other interested parties (e.g. employees or tenants) can contribute building data, but the owner must confirm/validate that data for it to be published on Carbon Title.

That said, Carbon Title is an early-stage platform that runs to some extent on the honor system. Verification does matter, and we plan to keep improving on this front as the product matures. But what matters more is creating a shared public record of carbon emissions for every building. We believe, as the saying goes, that “what gets measured gets managed”. Publicly available carbon emissions data will drive radical transparency and influence actions needed to decarbonize the real estate industry.

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When does my building or changes I’ve made get written to the blockchain?

We write a building to the blockchain when the owner claims the building on Carbon Title Explorer. We also update the blockchain record for that building when you make changes to the building data and publish those changes. Until you elect to publish changes to Carbon Title Explorer, any changes you make to the building’s data remain off the blockchain and private to you.

We do not record any data on “draft” buildings (typically buildings in the planning or construction phases) to the blockchain. The data remains private and limited to you until the time you choose to “publish” the building. At this point, we will write the data to the blockchain and the building and any published changes will show up on the map.

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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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Why should I give you more data?

We believe that we must all act together to decarbonize our built environment. If every building in the US were to reduce their CO2 emissions by 1 tCO2 (which is very little for even a house), it would be the equivalent of removing 27M cars from the road annually! 

We can only achieve the reductions we need if we can measure our progress publicly. By claiming your building and providing additional data, you are helping us calculate a more accurate carbon balance and provide a more accurate picture of all of our aggregate emissions—data that is increasingly relied upon by several groups.

Additionally, if you rent out your building, studies show that green buildings lease up faster and command higher rents.

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What about properties that are still under construction?

Once you have a Carbon Title account, you can create draft buildings for projects that are in the planning phase or still under construction. To publish completed buildings, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium account. New buildings will not show up on the map until they are published.

If you are a developer, contractor, architect, engineer, commercial tenant, local government, or low-carbon materials supplier, please schedule time with one of our carbon experts to learn more about our enterprise platform.

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