Verdical Group’s 2022 Carbon Footprint Calculation

Carbon (Taylor’s Version)

Verdical Group’s 2022 Carbon Footprint Calculation: 22 facts about Carbon and how to offset it, told in Taylor Swift Lyrics

By Claire Bisson & Madison Perry

“It feels like a perfect night” to delve into Verdical Group’s 2022 carbon offset calculations. Discussing Verdical Group’s Annual Carbon Footprint at the height of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is only fitting, as many sustainability experts are referring to this time as the era of “Carbon Accounting.” 

At Verdical Group, we complete a yearly calculation of our carbon footprint using our internally-developed Carbon Calculator. As explained in the summary of our first-ever calculation several years ago (read more about that here) we tally up the company’s scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. Each VG employee completes a yearly survey that details their transportation habits, as well as all of the products that were purchased or used by Verdical Group employees in that specific calendar year. From computers and active workstations to flash drives, we estimated the carbon footprint associated with each item. Simply offsetting the carbon we produced is not enough. Verdical Group purchases an additional 10% to become a “Carbon or Net Positive” company.

Without further ado, let’s “jump” and hopefully not “fall into” Carbon (Taylor’s Version). (“Jump Then Fall”)

  1. Carbon (CO2)- In the context of buildings, ‘carbon’ refers to carbon dioxide, which is a long-lived greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide levels are currently at an all-time high as a result of human industrial activities, contributing to global warming, ocean acidification, and a variety of other secondary impacts. Emitting carbon may be easier in the moment, it will ultimately have  consequences akin to “driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street.” (“Red”) 
  2. Carbon Footprint – This refers to the quantity of carbon emitted due to an individual, group, company, or item’s consumption of fossil fuel or greenhouse gas. Everyone or thing has a carbon footprint. What’s important is the ability to understand and contribute to decreasing it. It’s important to recognize the value of those things, like carbon, that we can’t put a price on (or can we? It’s about $4-$50 per ton).  When it comes to calculating carbon, we have a lot of emotions – “happy, free, confused, and lonely.” (“22”) Hopefully the following definitions give you insight to reduce confusion and loneliness, because when it comes to fighting the climate crisis, “we’re all in this together.” (Okay, that one wasn’t Taylor Swift.)
  3. Carbon Offsets – Carbon offsets are actions to offset or compensate for emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. A prominent example of this is investing in projects that aim to reduce CO2 emissions, such as new renewable energy infrastructure or carbon sequestration projects. “This is a worthwhile fight,” and each project or offset that reduces CO2 emissions contributes positively toward our goal. Every bit counts! (“State of Grace”) 
  4. Operational Carbon-  It’s the CO2 emissions associated with building operations. A building that uses electricity from a coal-fired power plant would have operational carbon associated with it, since burning fossil fuels (such as coal) produces carbon dioxide emissions. Buildings can’t help but “shake it off” — carbon that is. (“Shake It Off”)
  5. Embodied Carbon- Embodied carbon refers to the CO2 emissions associated with the entire life cycle of building materials, including mining, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transportation, and installation. The embodied carbon emissions of a new building are equivalent to about 20 years of operating emissions, making this category of carbon absolutely critical to address. To reduce the embodied carbon of a building, you can reuse buildings and materials, maximize high recycled content materials, choose carbon sequestering materials, and minimize waste. Verdical Group “knew you (embodied carbon) were trouble” and that is why we offer the following service dedicated to reducing the embodied carbon. (“I Knew You Were Trouble”)
  6. Life Cycle Assessment- Also known as LCAs, this service is one of the many ways we at Verdical Group help solve the climate crisis. Our LCA experts use sophisticated software to calculate the embodied carbon impact of the materials in your project — emissions baked into the manufacturing and transportation of materials to your project site. Special attention is given to the highest-carbon-intensity products like concrete, steel, aluminum, and glass. Our Verdical Group “Masterminds” help our clients reduce their embodied carbon “all by design” and choosing the right materials from the start. (“Mastermind”)
    (Click here to contact us to find out if this service is right for your project!)
  1. Carbon Sequestration- In an attempt to slow the impacts of climate change, carbon sequestration is used to capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon sequestration takes place naturally through the storage of carbon in vegetation, oceans, and soil. More technologically advanced methods involve capturing carbon and using it as a resource to create building materials, fuels, and carbon materials. Carbon Offset companies, native tree planting projects, and methane capturing technology tell carbon dioxide “come back, come back, come back to me” (“If This Was a Movie”)
  2. Scope 1 Emissions- Direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. In this area, typically we’re “the problem” and without action, we’ll “end up in crisis” (“Anti-Hero”)
  3. Scope 2 Emissions- Indirect GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company.  When “sparks fly,” or electricity is consumed, that’s Scope 2 emissions.(“Sparks Fly”)
  4. Scope 3 Emissions- Other indirect GHG emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the company but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company. For example, Verdical Group’s employees ”drivin’”, “ridin’”, and “flyin’ ‘ (“Getaway Car”), which can add up quickly despite policies to reduce employee travel and encourage carpooling when necessary. 
  5. Net Zero This is not just Verdical Group’s annual conference…In the context of green building, a building that is carbon neutral or net zero carbon emits net zero carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This can be achieved through energy efficiency measures, renewable energy generation and procurement, and carbon offsets. Therefore, a carbon-neutral building may still generate CO2 emissions, but these emissions must be counterbalanced by carbon offsets. Some carbon neutral or net zero carbon standards only address operational carbon, while others are more comprehensive and address both operational and embodied carbon. “It’s cool, that’s what I tell ’em” to be Net Zero and attend the Net Zero Conference on September 13-14th 2023. (“Cruel Summer”)
  6. Net Positive- Removing more carbon from the atmosphere than is released. This is accomplished by first reducing carbon emissions to the maximum extent possible, incorporating carbon sequestration strategies, and then offsetting remaining emissions and then some. Net positive may also refer to a building that produces more energy than it consumes and sells that energy back to the grid or to other local buildings.” (More Green Building Buzzwords) VG is a Net Positive Company- read more about that in the Data and Results section below. “We got bills to pay” for the damage that has been done in order to pay it forward so future generations can experience everything this earth has to offer “forever and ever” (“Mine” and “Lover”)
  7. Decarbonization- Taylor’s lucky number “13” and Verdical Group’s mission- to decarbonize the built environment. Building decarbonization requires reducing carbon emissions through cleaner energy sources such as electrification, greater energy efficiency, and lower embodied carbon materials. 
  8. Electrification- This buzzword describes the switch from ‘dirtier’ energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and fuel oil to greener and cleaner all-electric energy sources for building heating, cooling, and hot water needs. Electrification also helps to improve air quality. The push for decarbonization in the building sector is as strong as ever, and electrification is one of the most promising pathways to get there. As longtime advocates of electrification and the elimination of natural gas on our projects, Verdical Group knows this “all too well.” (“All Too Well”)
  9. Global Warming- This is a  big issue we all hear so much about: the long-term heating of the Earth’s surface due to human activity. We need to make some serious changes toward reducing GHG emissions immediately to save our planet. As Taylor once said, “We know it’s never simple, never easy,” but we can’t “breathe” or survive without this planet. We only have one! (“Breathe”)
  10. Greenhouse Gas Protocol- The most widely used framework for calculating a business’s carbon emissions. It divides the scope 3 emissions into two categories: upstream and downstream sources. Through calculating carbon emissions, companies see what activities they “should’ve said no” to and encourage them to do so in the future to minimize their impact. (“Should’ve Said No”)
  11. Upstream Emissions- As a service (rather than product)-based company this particular category was a Blank Space on Verdical Group’s carbon footprint calculation. (“Blank Space”)
  12. Downstream Emissions- Downstream emissions are from the use and disposal of the above products or services. “Oh, what a shame” that so much carbon is from the disposal phase of a product. (“Cold As You”)
  13. Carbon Reporting: You can’t manage what you don’t measure! So “tell me why?” every company is not reporting their carbon footprint annually. Verdical Group is here to lead by example and offer our helpful resources and expertise. If we report it, then we can offset and focus on lowering it together. (“Tell Me Why?”)
  14. Adaptation: Let’s be realistic. Complete and total carbon reduction is not possible at the rate that we need it to occur. It’s time for innovative thinking and adapting “because these things will change,” as we have seen since pre-industrial times. These emissions might be “bigger, but we’re faster and never scared.”  Verdical Group employees are only a small portion of all the smart and like-minded individuals coming together to create solutions and adapt to climate change. (“Change”)
  15. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions- This includes all of our Scope 1, 2, and 3 (“Let’s go”) emissions. Greenhouse gases include but are not limited to carbon dioxide, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). They are all of the gases released during the combustion of fossil fuels that trap heat and energy and result in a global temperature increase. (“Delicate”)
  16. Sustainability– Verdical Group’s one true passion! Sustainability has many different meanings, one of the most well-known being the UN Brundtland Commissioning defining sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Verdical Group’s consultants know this “All too well”, the 10-minute version. (“All Too Well”)

 ***Disclaimer– Verdical Group is by no means endorsing Taylor Swift as a Climate or Carbon Champion. “According to Rolling Stone, Swift’s jet flew 170 times between Jan. 1 and July 19 (the window for the Yard study), totaling 22,923 minutes, or 15.9 days, in the air. That output has created estimated total flight emissions of 8,293.54 tonnes of carbon, which Yard says is 1,184.8 times more than the average person’s total annual emissions.” Taylorwe just want to help, we have a team of experienced Sustainability Consultants who know what you “need.” “Oh, it’s a need, it’s a need.” (“Need”)

The Data and Results

In accordance with Verdical Group’s mission, Amazon’s Climate Pledge, and the B Corp Climate Collective, we are excited to share that Verdical Group has officially offset emissions for the year 2022. We’re continuing the tradition of reducing and then offsetting remaining emissions to demonstrate to our community that they too can have a positive impact.  

Over the last 10+ years, Verdical Group’s carbon footprint has grown as the number of employees, miles traveled, and operational requirements have increased.

Of the five contributors to Verdical Group’s carbon footprint, employee commute, a Scope 3 emission, was the highest at 42%. As a remote company, most of Verdical Group’s employees work from their home offices on a daily basis. This “Employee Commute” category accounts for the miles driven to and from our offices when employees do commute, our monthly team meet-ups, and transportation to business development events and conferences. At Verdical Group we encourage carpooling, the use of public transportation, and alternate forms of transportation such as active travel (biking, walking, scootering, etc.), and over the years the number of team members with electric cars continues to increase. 

Over the company’s history, we have emitted roughly 166.897 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is equivalent to 37.1 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year. The annual breakdown of our carbon emissions is detailed in the graphs below.

Verdical Group purchased 33 Carbon offsets, this includes all of our carbon emissions from 2022 plus ten percent from Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) Honors. We are excited to begin a new partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) Honors. Bef for short is a National non-profit based in Portland, OR, they are also  a fellow 1% for Planet Environmental Partner. The carbon offsets that we purchased support the Parque Eolico Maldonado Wind Farm in Uruguay.

We cannot wait to “begin again” next year. Verdical Group is committed to being a carbon-positive company and we intend to continue to publish the results from our calculator and proof of purchase each year. (“Begin Again”)

Thinking about net zero? Do you have questions about how your company can calculate and offset emissions? To learn more, please contact us at