GHG Reporting FAQs


There is no process that directly transports the information from the CCC to the Second Nature reporting system. (Although we are working on it and hopefully there will be in the future!) Once the required data has been input, the CCC provides a spreadsheet that automatically aggregates the outputs required for Second Nature reporting. This can be found in the pale yellow tab labeled “Second Nature_Reporting.” It is the responsibility of the signatory institution to use the CCC to calculate emissions data and then input required information into the Second Nature reporting systems.

For more information, please visit the Second Nature Reporting page (which is not administered by UNHSI).

Second Nature provides a helpful timeline for signatories with resources to help you with each report here.

UNHSI is the managing agency for the CCC, which is the calculation tool most recommended by the SN Climate Commitment for GHG emissions calculation. We coordinate closely with the Climate Commitment team at Second Nature, to continue to make this resource available and relevant for  signatories.  

UNH's President is also a charter signatory of the Climate Commitment.   As such, UNH has a climate action plan, 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 the "EcoLine" project; EcoLine allows UNH pipe methane gas produced by a nearby landfill to its cogeneration plant for fuel. UNH sells RECs to pay for the project. 

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.

The selling of RECs will impact you inventory because it makes it impossible for you to claim the GHG reductions associated with those RECs.  Essentially, you will need to "add" the emissions associated with the RECs back into your inventory. Of course, if your campus produces RECs and sells them, this money could be used to fund campus improvements that in turn contribute to further emission reductions. Often, campuses choose to implement projects that will have GHG reductions for a certain "life span" and they will sell RECs for the first years of that life span to help re-coup the costs of the project.  Once the campus stops selling the RECs, if the project is still functional and resulting in emissions reductions, the campus can begin incorporating those reductions into its inventory.

Campus Carbon Calculator (CCC) FAQ

This FAQ addresses specific CCC issues, and will be updated as problems are brought to the fore by users like you.  If you’d like a general introduction to using the Excel-based CCC, see our CCC Orientation


The Campus Carbon Calculator (CCC) is an MS Excel-based spreadsheet tool that provides procedural protocols and a framework for investigation of campus GHG emissions. It is based on workbooks by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for national inventories and the methodologies and calculators of the GHG Protocol, and has been adapted for higher education institutional use. The data collection module includes the following major emissions sources: on-campus energy production; purchased electricity; transportation (including air travel and commuting); waste; agriculture; and refrigerants.

The Second Nature team has recommended the CCC to Climate Commitment signatories because it is based on the GHG Protocol methodology, but adapted for campus use. It has been designed to be used by undergraduate or graduate level students, interns, or employees in a semester or less. The calculator covers all sources within the defined scopes of the Carbon Commitment and allows users to input the exact fuel mix used for generation by their electricity provider, which provides a more accurate and precise picture of organizational emissions (the GHG Protocol uses a generalized regional mix). It is our belief that the CCC is the most user-friendly and appropriate tool currently available for application in the higher education context.

Scope 1: Emissions from…

  • Combusting fuels on campus for heating and cooling
  • Combusting fuels to power campus-owned transportation vehicles
  • Off-gassing of fertilizers used on campus
  • Livestock (methane released either directly from the animal or from manure)
  • Fugitive release of refrigerants and chemicals that are GHGs

Scope 2: Emissions from…

  • Off-campus combustion of fuels to produce electricity, steam or chilled water for the campus

Scope 3: Emissions from…

  • Daily commuting by students/staff/faculty (fuel combusted in vehicles)
  • Air or ground travel on university business or for study abroad (fuel combusted in personal or transit vehicles/aircraft)
  • Trash disposal (landfill methane and/or emissions from incineration only)
  • Wastewater treatment (methane off-gassed and/or energy used)
  • The production of office/copy paper (energy used in production only)


  • Purchased RECs
  • Forest preservation
  • On-campus composting

The current version of the Calculator (v9.0) uses GWP values from the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. The full table of GWPs can be found here.

The current version of the CCC (v9.0) does not account for downstream emissions associated with recycled waste. Our online tool, CarbonMAP, is capable of tracking recycling data, but does not include this in emissions calculations.

If the results that are different in your Scope 2 emissions, the first thing you should check is whether you selected your appropriate eGRID subregion in the new version of the Calculator. Click on the Input tab, and scroll over to Scope 2 Emissions Sources. Click the link under Purchased Electricity to set the correct eGRID subregion, both pre- and post-2006.

In addition for all of the categories, we update emissions factors as they become available. This can result in changes--even retroactive changes--in your emissions totals, because there is generally a lag in availability for emissions factors for one-five years past.  It's important that you and your campus stakeholders understand that the Calculator (as with any GHG inventory calculation tool) can only give you an ESTIMATE of your emissions; the final numbers are going to be something of a moving target.  

For a list of changes between previous versions of the Calculator to this one, see the Appendices in the User's Guide.  This list can help you track back and determine which changes are due to better available emissions factor information as opposed to changes of "activity data" on your campus.