Factor Audit and Review
Factor audit and review is an activity that is regularly conducted by the Envizi Product team. Envizi updates emissions factors as they become available on a global basis. As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure data integrity, Envizi business analysts continually review emission factor tables provided by government and approved authorities to ensure reference to the most current and up-to-date factors. A full suite of audit reports are available to confirm which factors are used regionally and to show which factors are being used in reporting.
All factors recorded in the system are time and date stamped - i.e. they are valid between a start and end date. As part of our quality assurance process Envizi also sets a review date for all factors. When factors reach their review date, an internal notification is sent and a review is conducted to confirm the currency of the factors in question.
You can also choose which standard emission factor set(s) you want to use and Envizi will configure the platform to use your chosen set(s). Furthermore you can request custom factors to be setup and you can manage those factors yourself through the platform. The emission factors used in reporting depend on the choices made by your organization with respect to the emission sources, region, location and time period for which they record activity data.
There are several methods used to review factors. The simplest form of audit is checking the correctness of a factor by manually reviewing calculations and checking the factor source documentation. Reports are generated (or scheduled) to notify the Envizi Product team of factors that are scheduled for review. Factors are checked for overlapping selection criteria e.g, two factors cannot have identical data type, sub type, factor set, and region as well as overlapping effective dates. Factors are also sense checked for variance against the average of all factors within a data type using an extract from the database. Each method of factor audit and review is documented below.
Manual factor review
Factors can be reviewed manually using two reports. The Emission and Energy Factors report can be generated and will contain every factor in use by your company for the selected reporting period. This report is useful to get a detailed view of each factor, including its value and effective dates, but does have some limitations. The report alone does not provide a link between factors and activity data, nor does the report contain all factors that your company has access to. This means that even if you have created custom emission factors for your organization or standard factors exist in Envizi, this report will only contain factors that are used with your organization's activity data. Since year 2022, due to a new licensing agreement with IEA (International Energy Agency), IEA factor values can no longer be made available in a spreadsheet report. If you require to reveiw original IEA factor values for in-house auditting purposes, you can use the ‘Emission and Energy Factors - PDF Version’ report - this report is delivered in PDF format as an email attachment and contains the original IEA factor values.
Example of the report shown here:
If you are using custom factor management there is a report that will extract all available custom emission factors, called 'Custom Emission and Energy Factors'. If you don't have access to this report through the 'Emissions' report folder, contact IBM Support to have this report activated.
The Envizi Product team has access to another report called the Factor Setup report (this report is not available to you). This report contains all factors in Envizi and is an extract style report used for factor loading and updating.
Scheduled reports for factor review based on review date
Every factor in Envizi is created with a review date. If a factor has a blank value for review date, this means the factor is permanent and does not require review at any point in the future. Factors that are expected to change from year to year will have a review date, such as electricity factors, or factors used in regulatory reporting. A report is scheduled each month for the Envizi Product team and all factors having a review date are looked at. Once checked, the review date is either removed or updated to an appropriate date in the future.
Factor selection is based on a set of five criteria: data type, sub type, factor set, region and effective dates. In Envizi, the Product team is responsible for ensuring that no two factors in use by a client share the same four criteria (data type, sub type, factor set and region) and have overlapping effective dates. This is managed by running the Factors Conflict report after every factor load to check for errors. Take the following example and notice how factor 2 and factor 6 are in conflict - factor 2 has no effective dates which means it applies for all time periods, whereas factor 6 applies beginning July-2013 and into the future. The factor selection procedure for any data loaded that matches on the four criteria (data type, sub type, factor set and region) on or after July-2013 will not work.
Account level review
Envizi system administrators have access to an account level screen in the platform called Monthly Data. This screen shows monthly data and the factor assigned to monthly record. To access this screen, which is useful for spot checking and detailed investigation, a user must have the system administrator role. This screen is also useful when used with the Emission and Energy Factors report. The right column on the screen, ID will match with the Factor ID from the Emission and Energy Factors report.
On the right hand side of the page, if you bring up the preview panel, you will also be able to find factor details, such as its value and effective dates.
To navigate to this screen:
Navigate to an account or meter
Click on the Review tab in the sub-menu and select Monthly Data.
Example shown here:
Once a year the Envizi Product team will perform a variance analysis on all factors in the platform. This analysis will assume certain thresholds per data type and any factors existing outside of the threshold will be reviewed.
Factor review on new implementations
With every new implementation, the Product team can use the a report to create a specific list of factors that a client will have access to based on the five criteria: data type, sub type, factor set, region and date range of expected historical data. It is encouraged that you review this list of factors as your organization is ultimately responsible for factor correctness. By default, your implementation will receive the standard set of factors unless otherwise requested.
Update Managed Factor Set pages in the Envizi Knowledge Base
Envizi publishes all publicly available factors with permission from the various organizations that have ownership of the emission factors. To increase transparency around how these factors are managed and made available for emissions calculation, Envizi maintains Knowledge Base pages to help keep organizations informed about upcoming publications and any information related to the managed factor sets.
The Envizi Product team uses all methods described in this document to ensure factor appropriateness and correctness, but your organization is ultimately responsible for the use of factors and calculated emissions figures. If you wish to have more control over the emission factors applied to your organization's activity data, Envizi can enable the Custom Factor Management feature to give you full control over which factors are applied. To enable this feature, please contact IBM Support.