Project of the Week – What’s Your Agency’s Carbon Footprint?

The General Services Administration has recently launched a Carbon Footprint and Green Procurement Tool to assist agencies in managing their GHGs as required by Executive Order (EO) 13514 and recent energy laws.

The tool can address a broad range of tasks including:

  • Calculation of an agency’s GHG baseline, broken down by different scopes
  • Assistance with setting GHG reduction targets
  • Compilation of a building-by-building GHG emissions inventory
  • Preparation for reporting emissions to the Department of Energy’s GHG Reporting Portal

GSA’s Jennifer Hazelman has answered some frequently asked questions about the tool:

What is the Carbon Footprint Tool and what can it be used for?

The GSA Carbon Footprint Tool is a user-friendly web-based tool available for Federal agencies to use to complete their comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory. The tool follows a “bottoms-up” approach to greenhouse gas inventory calculation and reporting, with roll-up to an aggregate enterprise or agency level. Additional features in the tool include: a return on investment calculator that allows agencies to see the return on investment for interior and exterior lighting, solar power and computing equipment; a dashboard with sliders to visualize the reduction of emissions that can be realized through the use of products, services and management decisions; a geographical mapping system to visualize an agencies facilities, the number of staff and emissions for each facility, and any LEED certification or Energy Star rating associated with the building; and reporting features that allow an agency to analyze emissions from year to year.

The tool adheres to the CEQ/OFEE greenhouse gas reporting and accounting guidance that is currently out for public comment. GSA is working toward building an export capability for annualized agency-level aggregate data for submittal to the DOE GHG Reporting Portal.

Who can use it and who is using it?

The tool is being offered to all federal agencies free of charge. Currently, there are four agencies who have officially registered to use the tool. Those agencies are: Department of Homeland Security, Treasury Department, Health and Human Services and Department of Commerce.

How is it currently being used?

The GSA team is scheduling Welcome Aboard meetings with the agencies who have officially registered to provide additional training on using the tool, discuss account administration, provide a user manual and other support documentation to the agencies and to assist agencies in developing a customized approach to implementing the use of the tool within their agency. After the Welcome Aboard meetings, agencies will begin to start inputting their site and location information and start building their inventories.

Do you see an evolution of the tool and the potential uses for it?

The GSA Carbon Footprint Tool is being developed using a phased approach. The feedback on the tool has been very positive and there have been several suggestions for enhancements that the team is evaluating. Over time the tool will be enhanced even further to potentially add new functionality. Some of the additional features we are currently considering are: sustainable goal tracking, batch upload and download capability to import existing data and export inventory data, benchmarking capability within the geographical mapping system, develop return on investment tracking capability in the tool’s analyzer and add links to GSA products and services within the tool.

For more information or to populate the tool, visit

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Very cool. I like these tools as they make it real. Instead of just talk – you can see real visuals and numbers next to it.

Christopher Whitaker

To answer the question…..

Horrifically horrible , tremendously terrible, outstandingly a stand-out in what not to do…

I’m not sure my state agency can use the tool, but I can already tell you it’s ugly.

The system we use is from 1975 and slays entire forests due to all the paper it requires. We’re supposed to get a paperless system, but it’s overdue…..years overdue.

While we do recycle all the paper we print, it’s pretty embarrassing the amount of paper we go through.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Mary – what would be cool is a public demo tool…right now, it feels like there’s an intimidating gatekeeper standing at the entrance to preview it…is that intended?

Shelley Temkin

Green Proposals has added a “Green Meter” to our pre-bid meetings hosted via webinar. We now calculate the co2 emmissions saved from our atmosphere by vendors participating virtually rather than traveling to attend. In addition, the Green Meter calculates the number of miles not traveled per participant. It’s a great tool to use as you report on your contribution to sustainability.