Carbon Accounting

A great course so far!  Day One was very interesting. 

We first did introductions, by playing Sustainabingo.  A little game where there are a bunch of squares on a bit of paper with a bunch of questions to break the ice e.g. who owns a worm farm (pick me), or who has a rainwater tank.  You get the general idea.  You introduce yourself to each of the course members and ask them a question and then tick off that box.  The first to get all of their boxes tick calls out bingo and wins a prize.  Funnily enough, no-one won, simply because there were 20 boxes and only 19 course members!

During the morning we learnt about the carbon cycle, and how it all works.  I won’t go into it here, but you can learn about the carbon cycle from Wikipedia if you wish.  It is very similar to what we were taught.  We also learnt how humans have thrown the natural cycle out of kilter by burning fossil fuels. 

After lunch we started to get into the National Greenhouse Accounts, and how different types of things emit Carbon Dioxide, Nitrous Oxide, Methane, Hydrocarbons, and Sulphur Dioxide, which are the known Green House Gasses as agreed in the Kyoto Protocol.  There is a book of tables that has been produced by the Australian Greenhouse Office that lists all the multipliers for each of the types of emissions.  Working in pairs, it took us a while to work through a few scenarios, and that was with the facts in front of us.  Just imagine having to go through an organisations records to get all of the details and come up with a carbon inventory.

Well guess what?  That is exactly what I have to do in the next six weeks.  During the first two weeks, I have to formulate a project plan to complete a carbon inventory for a small company or NGO, and in the following four weeks, write a report and present it to the class.  The good thing about this course is that it is competency based assessment, so you get to go through the entire process for real, and end up with an industry acceptable outcome. 

Yesterday, I approached the Alternative Energy Association, of whom I am a member, and asked them if they would like me to calculate their carbon inventory and produce a report for them for free.  Well, after a bit of consultation they jumped at the chance.  I believe it will be win-win for both of us.  I get to perform a fair dinkum carbon inventory on a real NGO, and they get a free report that they can publish in Renew magazine!  I met a nice lady named Sophie, who I am having my first meeting with tomorrow to go through what I require for the project plan phase.  It should be great fun, and I am excited to finally be doing this sort of stuff. 

I have to hand the project plan in by 27th Jan, so there goes my Australia Day weekend.  I think I will be a busy boy! 

The next classroom day is the 30th, and we hit Excel to do some pretty detailed calculations about how to put swags of emissions data together so we can present it in a meaningful way.  I am looking forward to it.

Who knows?  I might be able to do this for homes and businesses in my spare time for a few bucks!



  1. says

    Thanks Gavin, Your course is really interesting to me so I really appreciate you writing about it. Makes me feel as if I am learning in the class with you.

  2. says

    Gavin this course sounds so fantastic. I am so proud of you. Such a very big and positive step forward to a greener environment. This is exactly the reason why you are my hero.

  3. says

    @ Kebeni. The Diploma might be next on the list, however I will get this course finished first!

    @ Rhonda Jean. We are not quite up to that stage in the course yet, however I do believe that we will be using the audit sheets at the Greenhouse Challenge Plus site. Give these a go, they look pretty good. As for a report, that is in the final week of the course.

    @ Phil. Thanks mate, that is what I am hoping it will lead to.

  4. says

    Hi Gavin, it sounds like a good course. I’m very interested in your auditing process. The Centre I co-ordinate is moving into a brand new building soon – building starts end of January, and I want it to be as green as possible. We’ve already done a lot of work on this aspect of the building but I’d like to audit our progress. Are you able to email me your auditing questions and how you report your findings? It’s not a bother if it’s too much trouble, it just seemed like too good a chance to pass up.

  5. says

    Sounds great Gavin, you would probably like the Diploma of Sustainability offered at Swinburne too. Idid it last year and it was interesting.

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