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Greenhouse Gas Baseline Tool: Guide to Use 

ClimateWise Gold and Platinum Partners must complete a GHG Baseline Tool to record your business' annual greenhouse gas emissions. Yearly calculation of your annual carbon footprint fulfills Requirement #9. Download the tool here or from myClimateWise.

  1. Background
  2. Materials Needed to Complete Tool
  3. Instructions
    1. Menu
    2. Utilities
    3. Transportation
    4. Solid Waste
    5. GHG Baseline


The ClimateWise Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Baseline tool is an Excel spreadsheet designed to assist partners, particularly those seeking the Gold and Platinum level status, with the calculation of their baseline GHG emissions.  A baseline for GHG emissions is the quantification of the GHG emissions produced by an organization’s operations and includes energy consumption, water consumption, waste generation, and transportation.  These emissions are calculated by multiplying the emissions factor related to a particular type of resource use by the quantity of resource used.  For example, by submitting your annual use of electricity in kilowatt-hours we can generate the GHG emissions from your purchase of electricity by applying the relevant emissions factor.  Emissions factors are industry agreed upon multipliers developed by various organizations (e.g. EPA, ICLEI, City of Fort Collins).

If your business reports to a GHG registry and is required to submit a baseline or inventory using a different methodology, you most likely will receive credit for this requirement without also having to complete a ClimateWise GHG baseline. Please contact CW staff to discuss whether your business falls into this category. Completed baselines should be submitted via myClimateWise.

Materials Needed to Complete Tool

In order to fully complete the Tool, the partner must have access to the following records.  Having these resources ready will make using the Tool much easier:

  • Utility bills –  one year of utility records for electricity,  natural gas, and water
  • Vehicle use – one year of records for miles traveled by vehicle type or fuel use in gallons
  • Airline travel – one year record of airline miles traveled or a list of airline trips (the Tool includes a link to a website that can help determine airline miles between destinations)
  • Solid waste and recycling – one year record of landfill waste and recycling quantities.  If bills do not indicate weight or volume of material, please contact ClimateWise staff for assistance in estimating the quantity of waste

Please contact ClimateWise staff with any questions regarding the above listed materials or how to estimate a quantity in the absence of the suggested documentation.


Upon opening the GHG tool, the Menu tab of the spreadsheet will open first.


This tab reiterates the necessary records for fully completing the tool and captures some initial information to help the partner manage the baseline in the future.

Please enter the following information in the spaces provided:

  • Company name
  • Name of the person to be responsible for the GHG baseline
  • The year for which this baseline is being completed (usually the year previous to the current year)

Three navigation buttons are available at the bottom of the page:

  • Start Here will take you to the first tab for data entry, Utilities
  • GHG Baseline will take you to the final tab summarizing your company’s GHG emissions.  This summary table will be blank until you have filled in your data on the intermediate tabs. 
  • The Help button provides a list of FAQs regarding the ClimateWise Tool.

Having entered the required information on this tab, click Start Here…


The Utilities tab will record information related to electrical, natural gas, and water consumption.  Some considerations before entering data:

Meter 1
  1. Wind energy purchased should be excluded from your electrical consumption since it does not contribute to GHG emissions.
  2. If total annual consumption is available instead of monthly data, simply enter the total in the Sum row.
  3. For partners with more than one meter of the same type, note that you can change the meter type by clicking on it.
  4. Partners with more than 9 meters can achieve data entry by aggregating values by meter type (i.e. summing all electrical meters into one entry).
  5. Water use types are defined as follows:  Consumptive - water that goes to the wastewater system (i.e. dishwashing), Non-consumptive - water that will not go to the wastewater system (i.e. irrigation), Raw water irrigation - untreated water utilized for irrigation.  Unless water use is explicitly known to be for irrigation, consumptive is best assumption.

Starting with Meter 1, for each of the partner’s meters, repeat the following procedure:

  1. Select meter type from the drop-down list
  2. For future reference, enter the meter number or account number from the bill
  3. Enter the year from which the data came
  4. Enter the quantity by month in appropriate rows or the annual total in the sum row.  The units are as follows:
    1. Electricity in kilo-watt hours (kWh)
    2. Natural gas in therms (th)
    3. Water in gallons (gal) 
      (These are the units commonly used by utilities.  If you encounter other units, please contact ClimateWise staff for assistance in converting them.)
  5. Enter any notes or assumptions that may be of use in the future

Once utility information has been entered, click on the Next button at the top of the page.


The Transportation tab will record information related to transportation activities including vehicle miles traveled, fuels use, and airline miles traveled.

Most organizations will understand their vehicle use under one of the following scenarios, and as a result should use the indicated section to enter their data:

  • A record of mileage or reimbursed miles, use VEHICLES section.
  • Fuel purchase records, sometimes for a pump operated by the organization and sometimes from other billing records, use the FUELS section.
  • Fuel use records for other devices such as backup diesel generators, use the FUELS section.


  1. Two rows are provided for vehicle mileage entry.  If an organization operates more than two types of vehicles, aggregate similar vehicles by size and fuel type into two categories (e.g., gas cars and diesel trucks).
  2. Enter annual Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for vehicle or vehicle class #1.
  3. Select a fuel type from the drop-down list.
  4. Select a vehicle type from the drop-down list.  The average fuel efficiency for that vehicle type will be indicated in grey at the far right end of the row.  If unsure about a vehicle’s type, select one that has similar fuel efficiency to the vehicle in question.
  5. Enter any notes and assumptions made, especially if aggregating multiple vehicles by type.
  6. Repeat for additional vehicle or class of vehicles.

Vehicles Image


  1. Five rows are provided for fuel use entry.  If an organization has multiple points of use for a single fuel type, aggregate similar uses and make a note in the Notes and Assumptions column.
  2. Enter quantity of fuel used (gallons for all fuels except natural gas, therms for natural gas). 
  3. Select a fuel type from the drop-down list.
  4. Enter any notes and assumptions made.
  5. Repeat as necessary for additional fuel types.

Fuels Form


  1. Two rows are provided for airline mileage entry.  Multiple flights can be aggregated into a single line as needed.
  2. Enter annual Airline Miles Traveled (AMT).  A link is provided to a website that will assist the user in calculating the airline miles between particular destinations.
  3. Enter an notes and assumptions made.

Airline Miles Form

Once transportation data has been entered hit the Next button at the top of the page or select the Solid Waste tab.

Solid Waste 

Similar in layout to the Utilities tab, the Solid Waste tab will record information related to landfilled solid waste or recycled materials.

Data entry boxes are available for the following waste streams (all except the landfill are recycling):

Landfilled Form

  • Landfilled - solid waste sent to the landfill (i.e., normal trash pickup)
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Plastic
  • Newsprint
  • Mixed Office Paper
  • Magazines
  • Phonebooks
  • Fiberboard
  • Wood
  • Food waste
  • Yard waste
  • Commingled

Starting with the first known waste stream and repeating as necessary.

  1. Select the desired unit of volume or weight for the waste.  For most waste streams, uncompacted volume (cubic feet or gallons) and weight in tons are options.  For assistance in converting a waste stream quantity in another unit to one of these units, please contact ClimateWise staff.
  2. For future reference, enter the contractor or account number for the waste stream
  3. Enter the year from which the data came
  4. Enter the quantity by month in appropriate rows or the annual total in the sum row
  5. Enter any notes or assumptions that may be of use in the future

Once solid waste data has been entered click the Next button at the top of the page.

GHG Baseline

This tab summarizes the direct GHG emissions for an organization based on the data entered on previous tabs.


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