Release Notes is our periodic update that highlights recent product improvements we’ve made so you can easily stay up to date on what’s new.
So let’s dive into what’s new in this release, or skip to the end for the full technical release notes.
As part of our mission to support organisations' assessment and reduction of their climate footprint, we continue to expand the foundation of the open data platform that will serve users globally. A challenge with aggregating emission factors from various sources and local environmental agencies is the substantial variance in how the data is presented, making comparison difficult and utilisation of different providers cumbersome and time-consuming. The OEFDB is explicitly designed to answer this challenge, and with this release has received a significant update, providing standardised, machine-readable IDs, improved naming conventions and clearer descriptions and categorisation. This normalisation allows improved comparability across the various data sources and a more robust structure for the addition of further emission factor data.
The challenge and opportunity with normalising emission factors: Imagine that you are building software for an e-commerce company, and you want to automatically measure CO2e for every parcel shipped from the UK to France. To do so, you need both UK and French emission factors - but the way the BEIS data is presented is completely different to ADEME, with almost no similarities in the data schemas. Even once you have tried to work out which factors align with each other, it is not at all apparent that comparable methodologies have been used with respect to upstream production of the fuel used in the shipping. Add to this that your French isn’t what it used to be - and there are a dozen potential pitfalls that could mean you are not even close to comparing apples to pommes. That is just one example that users raised with us after our launch back in September. So we took a deep dive into the data, evaluating and scientifically vetting every one of these 1,300 emission factors.
In addition to making the database more robust, normalising this data makes it a lot easier to select the correct emission factors for humans and in machine-readable implementations.
Watch an interview with our Directors of Science sharing insights into this work:
As our database of emission factors continues to grow, we heard from quite a few folks that they would love to be able to search the database in an easier way. Well, now you can with our wonderful new Data Explorer!
In addition to the existing raw dataset on GitHub, you can now also browse and search our public OEFDB and filter emission factors by any criteria. Use our new Data Explorer to search among our vast and continually growing dataset and find comprehensive descriptions and other important details for each emission factor, including unity type, year, numerical factor, and a link to the original data source. And when you have found what you are looking for, there are convenient links to guide you to the corresponding implementation details.
We are already working on a long list of exciting features to make it even easier for you to review, compare, verify, and experiment with factors for your projects.
We’re fortunate to be surrounded by passionate users, so the new changes have been focused on addressing the feedback we received during the past weeks. Among many updates in this release is the ability for batch processing which allows developers to query the API in bulk and calculate carbon emissions for a series of activities in a single query. This significantly improves efficiency when managing large sets of data, for instance processing server log files or compilation of shipment records.
The previous beta version and Docs will continue to be operational, however, we strongly encourage existing users to switch to the new version in order to benefit from the new features and updated emission factors.
Our developer documentation has been updated to include more code examples and better instructions. We have added new sections to outline the supported unit types, e.g. ‘passenger over distance’, together with illustrative examples. Emission factors attributed to each estimate type have now been moved to the new Data Explorer which is accessible via a handy link.