Greenhouse gas software, also known as carbon management software, is a tool that is used to manage data from various sources such as utility bills, meters, and continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMs). It helps perform complex calculations and generate air emissions inventories for reporting. Not only does greenhouse gas software help you measure and report on your performance, but it can also help you reduce your carbon footprint.
These are the basics of any GHG software system. However, not all systems are created equal. Functionality, pricing, and even support can vary widely from one vendor to the next.
If you are considering purchasing a GHG software system in the near future, there are several things to keep in mind as you begin your search:
Fast, easy setup
User-friendliness should be the first major consideration when selecting a system. It might seem obvious, but the more user-friendly the software is, the easier it will be to get your team to make the switch. Your employees will be better served with an intuitive, easy-to-use system that doesn’t require extensive training than one loaded with all the bells and whistles.
Look for a scalable, standardized system that can be implemented quickly. These “off-the-shelf” systems are usually easy to set up and use. And, standardized systems come with a much lower price tag — making them an ideal solution for small- and mid-sized organizations.
Try to avoid buying a system that requires extensive customization. Setup typically requires extensive coding, making them a drain on your budget and on already overburdened IT departments. Today, there are plenty of greenhouse gas management systems on the market that can meet your needs, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
One of the biggest challenges of greenhouse gas management is the sheer volume of data. Minimizing the amount of manual data entry is crucial for both accuracy and productivity.
Aside from manual rekeying, there are two ways to route data into your GHG software system: spreadsheet uploads and integrations. Spreadsheet uploads allow you to quickly and easily upload bulk information into the system. However, this isn’t always the most efficient solution if you have new information coming in all the time.
Integrations solve this problem by pulling data from other systems, such as your CEMs or production system. Data is fed directly into the software from these various sources and made available for analysis and reporting in real-time. Check to make sure whichever software you’re considering integrates with the other systems you use, so that your team can do everything in one place.
Performing emissions calculations and maintaining all of your formulas is one of the most time-consuming aspects of environmental data management. The best GHG software reduces these repetitive tasks with a configurable calculation engine which stores all of your formulas in a centralized, searchable library. The ability to quickly configure complex calculations, associate formulas to assets or source locations, and update formulas with the click of a button will give you a tremendous advantage over your old spreadsheets.
Now that we’ve looked at how to get your data into the system, you’ll want to think about how you’ll get data out of the system. What type of reports will you need to prepare? Do you need to generate internal reports for management? What about exporting data for electronic reporting requirements, such as e-GGRT? These are all things to think about.
Good GHG software should dramatically reduce the time it takes to prepare reports. Look for a system that includes both dashboard reports for real-time monitoring and immediate insights, as well as the ability to create and export submission-ready reports.
Alerts, notifications, and triggers
With greenhouse gas software in place, your team will save time on data analysis and reporting. However, GHG software should help your team be more proactive — not just more efficient.
The most useful GHG software includes alerts and notifications that let staff know when permit limits or other thresholds are exceeded, so they can respond right away. Triggers take things a step further by automatically assigning tasks and corrective actions to ensure your team stays on top of issues.
Typically, businesses that purchase GHG software also need tools for regulatory compliance, SDS and chemical management, audits and inspections, and incident management — to name a few. However, if you purchase each system individually, you’ll constantly have to worry about keeping them in sync.
For example, if you want to monitor emissions related to certain chemicals you use in production, you shouldn’t have to toggle between different systems to access that information. A single, unified platform that includes GHG management alongside these other tools will provide faster access to crucial information.
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There’s a lot to think about when purchasing greenhouse gas software, but following the advice in this article should help you eliminate systems that won't work for you and compare the ones that will. If you’d like to learn more, read about Perillon’s carbon management software or request a custom demo.