Embassy sizes up CO2 footprint

The Norwegian Embassy has had its carbon footprint measured in the first phase of a pilot project aimed at transforming the mission into a sustainable embassy.

The results, as measured by the environmental consultancy Carbon Clear, revealed that the Embassy was responsible for a total emission of 268 tonnes of CO2 over the past year, which is an average of 11 tonnes per person, compared to the UK average of 9.1 tonnes as estimated by the International Energy Agency in 2005. The emissions from both the Embassy and Innovation Norway amounted to 455 tonnes of CO2.

An expert visited the Embassy to gather information from energy consumption and the building mass, to its employees’ travel to work and nights spent in hotels.

The Embassy’s main source of CO2 emissions (see diagram below) is primarily business flights, followed by electricity consumption, printed materials and gas.

The Embassy is now developing a plan of action for how best to reduce its carbon footprint. Simple measures to reduce carbon emissions include swapping to energy-saving light bulbs, opting for video or telephone conferences instead of plane journeys, and using more ecological and environmentally-friendly materials.

The Embassy would like to encourage other missions map out their carbon footprints and become more environmentally friendly in their day-to-day operations.

The Norwegian project follows on from the US Embassy’s pioneering green initiative in 2006 in which the Embassy implemented a range of policies, from energy and water conservation, to tecycling in order to meet he highest international standards for environmental management.