Our Carbon Zero Federation Dashboard

The Carbon Zero Federation Dashboard (FED Dashboard) is an online interface, designed in-house by CO2balance that provides project partners a central access point to all the key documentation relevant to project development as well as data entry tools for monitoring activities. Due to the data intensive nature of carbon projects, ensuring that all records are stored in a secure location both in hard copy and electronically is important so that they are easily accessible for auditing purposes. A key advantage of the FED Dashboard is that the functionality can be customised according to the requirements of our clients. As outlined below, the Dashboard has three primary functions;

1) Project Documentation

Documentation and templates relating to each stage of the project cycle are stored in this section of the FED Dashboard. This provides a master copy of all documents that can be accessed and downloaded both internally and by Partners working with CO2balance on specific aspects of the project. Access for Partners can be set up and tailored so as to provide only the necessary information and documents for each stage in the project development.

2) Stove Sales Record and CTF Management

Obtaining the carbon rights form (CTF) is a crucial element of the project development process and a copy of each form needs to be uploaded to a database in order for an electronic copy to be stored and made accessible for project auditors. One of the primary functions of the Dashboard is to provide a secure space for storing the CTFs electronically and creating a total sales record (TSR) which is ultimately used to calculate the emission reductions. The following functions provided by the FED dashboard allow for easy management of the TSR;

  • CTF forms can be downloaded directly from the FED Dashboard in PDF format
  • Once the CTF details of a stove recipient have been collected, a photo of the CTF is uploaded to the FED Dashboard from any location in the world in close to real time. This means that field staff in remote locations can transfer data quickly and efficiently and thus minimise the risk of mislaying important information.
  • After the details of each CTF have been entered into the Dashboard, they are automatically transferred to a spreadsheet, which can be downloaded as an excel file. This crucial process enables the user to track and manage the technology records easily in close to real time which allows for accurate management and monitoring of project sales.

3) Data Entry

An additional function that Partners can access in the FED Dashboard is a data entry system for the monitoring surveys such as MKS’ and KPTs, which considering the data intensive nature of carbon projects, can help save time and minimize the risk of data entry errors.

Confirmed this past week, World Vision Kenya will be using our in house written software for the development and monitoring of 2 improved cookstove projects in Kenya, Wema and Mogotio. This is a great step forward for the collaboration of our two companies and will allow us both to have instant access to data, which will improve efficiency and ease of communication.

Getting the Right Survey Data

Good data is simply too important to be left to chance. Organizations/Companies must be able to trust the integrity of their data in order to handle basic business processes to adapt to changing needs, but strict enough to protect the organization’s information assets. Data quality is an essential characteristic that determines the reliability of data for making decisions. High-quality data is; Complete, Accurate, Available and Timely.
This can only be achieved through;
• Governance and leadership – clear roles and responsibilities to ensure accountability for data quality
• Policies – policies and procedures in place to check data
• Systems and processes – in place that secure the quality of data
• People and skills – train staff so they have the appropriate knowledge, competencies and capacity for their roles
• Data use – focus on securing data which is accurate, valid, reliable, timely, relevant and complete
Knowing the high quality of data we need mid this month we held a KPT training in Wema Nakuru County to train World Vision casuals on performing an effective Kitchen Performance Test (KPT). The KPT measures the relative rate of fuel wood consumed by a stove as its used in the normal household environment. Its purpose is to demonstrate the effect of stove interventions on household fuel consumption.
There are two main goals of the KPT: (1) to assess qualitative aspects of stove performance through household surveys and (2) to compare the impact of improved stove(s) on fuel consumption in the kitchens of real households. To meet these aims, the KPT includes quantitative surveys of fuel consumption and qualitative surveys of stove performance and acceptability. This type of testing, when conducted carefully, is the best way to understand the stove’s impact on fuel use and on general household characteristics and behaviours because it occurs in the homes of stove users.
Due to the high quality of data needed we took time to thoroughly train the field teams to ensure they perfectly understand how to run the test effectively thus attain the required results. It was a great exercise running through theory and practicals of the KPT. (And hurrah! below is the team of trained casuals ready to go!) wv training kpt 2

co2balance microprogrammes

The costs of developing a standard 60,000 tonne small scale project are considerable.   Auditor fees, plus the time project developers need to understand and negotiate the complex rules set by the Gold Standard used to mean that only projects promising to deliver close to 60,000 tonnes throughout their lifetime were economically viable.  Any low volume project simply was too expensive to develop and because these projects tended to be located in Least Developed Countries, this meant that overall these countries were unrepresented in the carbon market as a whole.  This was despite there being many opportunities to deliver emission reductions with significant positive social and economic impacts – something that project investors are increasingly keen to see.

The microprogramme of activity concept was established by the Gold Standard to help catalyse investment in underrepresented regions and especially in smaller projects that previously were commercially non-viable.  A microprogramme sets rules for the inclusion of any number of individual projects that each are limited to an offset of 10,000 tonnes – the initial time consuming project audit (known as validation) is focussed only on the microprogramme.  This audit confirms the rules by which the inclusion of individual projects are governed and, once agreed, allows new projects to be included with a streamlined, simplified check.  Overall, this means that an unlimited number of small projects up to 10,000 tonnes can be developed more quickly, more cheaply and with less risk than compared to the standard small scale process.

This is something that co2balance has long recognised the importance of and we championed it from the start and indeed were the first organisation to register a multi-country microprogramme of activities.  Collectively, our microprogrammes have this month reached a landmark 40 mini projects across 9 countries, totalling 400,000 tonnes of emission reductions annually.  This goes to show the collective impact that many small projects can have and we are confident that the success of the concept will continue to grow.

Global Carbon Calculator indicates what the world could look like in 2050

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The world’s population could live a prosperous, European-style lifestyle by 2050 at the same time as avoiding dangerous climate change, according to a new Global Calculator developed by the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

DECCs online tool shows how global prosperity can increase, even as emissions fall by 60 per cent from current levels in line with climate targets. Of course this is contingent on undertaking massive changes to how we use energy, such as shifting from hydrocarbon fuel to nuclear and low carbon technologies, as well as much wider use of electricity for transportation and heating.

Interestingly DECCs tool highlights how the cost of achieving this radical series of changes to energy consumption might actually be less expensive than tackling carbon emissions in the long run.

The new global tool has already been used by organisations, including DECC, Shell, the International Energy Agency and Friends of the Earth, to imagine the world in 2050. Importantly, many 2050 scenarios are not compatible with a safe climate.

The tool can be accessed here

Enjoy making your own series of personal choices about diet, lifestyle, appliance use, transport, buildings, land use, energy, and industry to model the world in 2050. Remember that these “trade-offs” have implications on social cost of climate change, affect internationally agreed climate targets, as well as being a death sentence for many of tomorrows most vulnerable communities.

ESOS – Up and Running in 2015

The Environment Agency’s ESOS Compliance Portal is now live as you can see from the timeline below;

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ESOS requires all large UK enterprises to have an organisational energy audit every four years.  In December, the Environment Agency launched its compliance portal through which all submissions must be made in time for the January 2016 start date.In mid 2014, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), the latest EU-led compliance legislation was transmuted into UK statute, with the Environment Agency as the key administrators of the scheme.

Businesses that qualify for ESOS compliance are required to submit their data before 5th December 2015. Importantly, with this development, businesses can be registered as fully ESOS compliant from 1st January 2015 and begin to make savings from their investment.

As of 2015, Lead Assessors managing ESOS compliance are now able to submit finalised data on behalf of businesses. The main role of the Lead Assessor is to ensure that organisations are ESOS compliant and that the recommendations being made are technically accurate and of true benefit to the client.  The ESOS organisation is ultimately responsible for the accuracy of its compliance.

Paul Chiplen, coordinating ESOS strategy here at CO2Balance, says, “I am looking forward to working with ESOS clients to help reduce their operational costs and their carbon.  ESOS is a fantastic opportunity to really make a difference to energy usage in UK organisations. CO2Balance acting as Lead Assessor can play an important role in overseeing the ESOS process, using their extensive experience to audit through site visits and project timelines.”

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Throughout 2015, using our Optimised ESOS Plan (see above), CO2Balance is mobilising to make savings for their ESOS clients that will result from implementing the measures recommended in their audits. If you are one of the many companies currently unprepared and perplexed for ESOS first off, you are not alone. Approximately 50% of the 9,000 companies in scope are also in your position. Even here at CO2Balance there are still many questions to be answered on ESOS and the energy efficiency policy landscape in general in the UK. However we are here to help and guide you through your ESOS compliance and energy performance in 2015.

For further information please contact Paul Chiplen, to learn more and get ready.

Micro-scale Borehole Projects listed in in Uganda!

The Gold Standard confirmed this week that two more micro scale borehole projects in Uganda have been listed. Therefore, now we have three micro-scale borehole projects in total listed in the Kaliro District in central Uganda. The latest two Gold Standards approved projects involve the rehabilitation and maintenance of hand-pumped boreholes owned by communities in Kaliro District. It is estimated that they will achieve emission reductions of 20,000 tonnes annually, 10,000 for each project.

Many existing boreholes are owned by community groups or community based organizations (CBOs) and have fallen into disrepair because maintenance programmes have been poorly managed, or proven too expensive.  CO2balance works with community groups in Kaliro District and identify broken down boreholes and renovate them so that they deliver clean, safe water and breakdowns are fixed rapidly.  For the purpose of our micro scale borehole projects in Kaliro District we have repaired 30 boreholes. Below are some of the pictures during the repairs!

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21,368 stoves distributed in Rwanda

Yesterday we had a meeting with our project partner Climate Corporation from Austria to discuss the progress of our projects in Rwanda. 2014 was a great year for our cookstove and borehole projects in Bugasera and Gatsibo districts in the province of Eastern Rwanda. By the end of this week we will have rolled out 21,368 improved cookstoves, reaching thousands of families who have now better cooking environment and save significant amount of time and wood already on a daily basis. The verification of the first VPA (GS 1267 “Bugasera Improved Cookstoves”) confirmed that our stoves save more than 3 tonnes of wood per year by each family. The warm welcome we received during our field trip in December and the positive user feedback about the stove efficiency reassured us that our project is welcomed and appreciated in the communities. Besides monitoring the existing cookstove projects to make sure that we are constantly in touch with the communities, in 2015 we are going to focus on the development of our borehole projects in Gatsibo. Stay tuned to this blog for further updates very soon!DSC_0155 DSC_0225 DSC_0228

Successful Gold Standard Verification Site Visit- GS976 Meru Improved Cookstoves

I recently had the opportunity of joining our team in Kenya to lead the 2nd monitoring period site visit for the Meru improved Cookstove project, one of CO2balance’s six small-scale Gold Standard projects registered in Kenya. Nestled beneath the eastern foothills of Mount Kenya, Meru County is subject to high poverty levels, especially in rural areas which lack access to health services, clean water and other basic resources. Similar to many areas in Kenya, the majority of people in Meru still depend heavily on wood fuel and predominantly use three stone fires for cooking which are highly inefficient and can cause serious health problems due the large amount of smoke they emit. Since 2011, the Meru Improved Cookstove project has focused on reducing the negative health, environmental and economic impacts related to cooking on three stone fires through the distribution of over 8000 improved CZK cookstoves.

During the verification site visit we were accompanied by a local expert and independent auditor who interviewed a large sample of stove beneficiaries and conducted a rigorous assessment of all the project data that had been collected during the monitoring period, in order to verify the emission reductions. Despite difficult road conditions, with the help of our experienced local field staff and expert driver we were able to navigate the laterite with ease and managed to visit over 30 households, all of whom were very happy with the Carbon Zero Kenya (CZK) Stove. One family mentioned that the time and money saved collecting and buying firewood has enabled them to devote more resources to their tea farm which has enabled them to increase their harvest, thereby generating additional income for their children’s education. Considering that some households spend over 20% of their income on fuel wood it is easy to see how using improved cookstoves, which reduce wood consumption by around 50%, can have a significant impact on quality of life.

During the site visit, it was also encouraging to see first-hand the excellent progress that the field staff have made in terms of building and nurturing ties with the local authorities, who play an important role in promoting the cookstoves and ensuring that the community support the project- as we have learnt through experience, participation is a crucial component to the success of any community based project!

Many thanks again to everyone in Kenya for their great work and ensuring the smooth running of the site visit!

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