Staples, the office products company, uses its existing energy management system to gather activity data for its GHG inventory. The web-based energy system is provided through a contract with Avista Advantage and has been in operation since 2000. Before hiring Avista, Staples was having difficulty keeping track of its energy and water consumption, managing its utility bills, and ensuring prompt payment of bills. After the energy management system was in place, Staples could easily track energy and other utility usage and billing data and coordinate utility payments for the vast majority of the locations it leases or owns. The data are stored in an Internet-accessible database that enables Staples to generate various customized energy reports.
When Staples started constructing its GHG inventory, nearly all the data for its facilities’ energy consumption were contained in its existing energy management system and were easily accessible with the click of a mouse. Data could be derived for several years and be made available for each individual facility or could be rolled up to the corporate level. Staples estimated the energy use of the remaining five percent or less of its facilities that were not in the system by using proxy data from similarly monitored facilities. Staples then applied regionally specific emission factors to construct accurate facility-level emissions data. The result was a robust inventory that tracks GHG emissions from more than 1,500 retail and non-retail facilities as of 2005, all assembled with minimal internal staff resources.