Estimating your Office Energy with the Tenant Energy Toolbox

13th January 2016

Use our Energy Toolbox to help calculate estimates of your office space's energy consumption.

The majority of artists and arts organisations in Scotland rent a studio or office space and many of those include heat, light and power in the rent. With no way of seeing fuel bills or being able to read meters, the organisations have no way of calculating the carbon footprint of their accommodation. We would always recommend asking your landlord for information on fuel bills, but this information is not always available.

In response to this, we embarked on some research during Autumn 2015 by recruiting some willing volunteers who helped us by answering questionnaires and allowing us to survey their offices. You can find out more about the background and our initial proposal in our blog post Carbon Emissions Recording and Reporting: Navigating Tenancy.

This has allowed us to develop a Tenant Energy Toolbox spreadsheet.

The toolbox allows you to make an estimate of your office based emissions when you have no access to information from meters, bills or from your landlord. It is designed to help you to understand how the way you use your office can affect your contribution to the emissions from the whole building. Remembering to switch off equipment overnight can have a big impact, as can switching off lights when they are not being used.

We have based the toolbox on information we gathered by speaking to tenants and landlords in two separate buildings containing tenanted spaces.

How to use the toolbox

Full instructions on how to use the toolbox are contained within the spreadsheet. To estimate your office carbon footprint you need to provide some key information:

number of employees, the number of days worked per week and floor area of your office.

Charts in the toolbox will automatically update to reflect the information you have entered.

You can also provide optional data on fuel tariffs, if you know them, and some behaviour indicators.

Although not mandatory you can make your estimate reflect your usage more closely by customising some of the data contained in the toolbox. You can customise the information on items you use by updating the numbers of items or entering a zero if you don’t use the item. You can also customise the average amount of time in each working day when an item is used to reflect whether you switch off when not in use or only use occasionally.

The charts in the toolbox will automatically update to reflect the information you have entered.

About Our Survey

– We asked questions on how many people used the offices and for how long in a typical week.

– We audited the equipment used in eight different offices to estimate electricity use over a year.

– We received information from landlords on annual gas and electricity use for their building.

– We checked floor plans to get area of offices and whole buildings

How we are using the information in the toolbox

  • Heating (Gas)

Main heating is provided to the whole building for most tenanted buildings and we found this was not usually very controllable by tenants.

The toolbox calculates emissions from Gas used to heat your office depending on the floor area of your studio or office in metres squared (m2).

  • Electricity

We found that the amount of electricity used is likely to depend on how many people are using the office and the type of electrical equipment used. It is heavily influenced by the amount of IT equipment used (especially number of computers). We also recorded a wide and varied range of other equipment in our audit so we’ve provided a list of equipment which you can customise to make an estimate of your electricity use.

For any more information, please contact Fiona MacLennan: fiona.maclennan@creativecarbonscotland.com 

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.


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0131 529 7909
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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network