New in Release 5.8

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New Functionality

New functionality deployed with v5.8 includes:

  • Enhanced public and private dashboards
  • Enhanced target setting and project forecasting
  • Support for fiscal year reporting

In addition to this new functionality, read on to learn about changes and enhancements to existing functionality.

Changes

In addition to the new functionality listed above, v5.8 includes refinement of certain existing functionality and miscellaneous bug fixes. 

At Scope 5, we strive to lead the practice of sustainability reporting. In part, this means adhering to (and in many cases, defining) rigorous methodology. We refine our methodology over time, seeking and eliminating sources of errors and ambiguity and evolving the functionality of the Scope 5 platform to adopt new standards. We are relentlessly focused on rigorous reporting methodologies.

We are also relentlessly focused on our clients. We recognize that our clients use Scope 5 to
report sustainability progress publicly and we recognize that our clients' reputation is linked to the integrity of the numbers that they report. With this in mind, we explain below, in detail, any changes or bug fixes that could produce results for specific data queries under v5.8 that differ from the results for the same query under the previous version. Note that such discrepancies are exceedingly rare and generally amount to very minor discrepancies.

We discuss the following changes:

  1. Improved accuracy in applying conversion factor sets to activity data
  2. Improved handling for instantaneous trackers
  3. Handling cases of multiple activity records for the same tracker with the same date
  4. New methodology for generating results for averaging ongoing trackers when the query range extends beyond the tracker’s activity range
  5. Sub-month accuracy
  6. No impact results generated for source trackers
  7. Disabled extrapolation for a-periodic trackers that are ongoing or averaging

Note that this list is not exhaustive - minor changes or bug fixes that are not visible to the user and have no impact on results may not be addressed.

Conversion Factor Set Changes

Scope 5 has long supported attaching multiple conversion factor sets to any resource. Each set has an effective date that specifies the starting date at which activity should be converted to impact metrics using that set’s conversion factors.

In the past, all activity for each activity record was converted using the conversion factors belonging to the set that was in effect on the date of the activity record. New functionality converts activity for all activity records on a prorated basis, using each conversion factor set spanned by the activity. This is illustrated in Figure 1.

cfsets.png

Figure 1 - Application of Conversion Factor Sets to Activity

In this example, we see three conversion factor sets (with their corresponding effective dates), and three activity periods (each spanning the dates between one activity record and the next). Each of the first two activity periods span two conversion factor sets. The first part of the activity in activity period 1 will be converted using conversion factor set A. The second part will be converted using conversion factor set B. Similarly, the activity in activity period 2 will be converted, on a prorated basis, using both conversion factor set B and conversion factor set C. The third and last activity period will be converted entirely using conversion factor set C. 

This functionality was developed in the interest of making your reported data more accurate. It will have no impact on your account’s activity data but it will likely result in changes to calculated impact data (in much the same way that routine updates to conversion factors do). Since conversion factors tend to change only slightly from one set to the next, the impact to calculated data will also be slight. If you would like assistance in assessing specific changes to your calculated impact data, please contact us.

Instantaneous Tracker Processing

Scope 5 functionality has always allowed trackers to be marked instantaneous. This meant that the tracker’s activity was not generally prorated over time but rather considered to apply instantaneously, on the date of the corresponding activity record. In the case of ongoing, averaging instantaneous trackers, the average value specified in an activity record was assumed to persist up to the next activity record or indefinitely into the future. 

With the new functionality, this is no longer the case. Instantaneous activity has no impact beyond the date of the activity record. On summing instantaneous trackers, values in activity records are simply summed over any query period. On averaging instantaneous trackers, values are simply averaged across all records for the query period. (Note that if an averaging tracker has multiple activity records with the same date, these will be averaged to produce an average value for that day before being averaged with records for other days). 

Some of our clients might have accidentally set one or more trackers to be instantaneous. The new functionality could have significant impact on the numbers for trackers that were configured as instantaneous. If you would like us to help review your account for misconfigured trackers, please contact us.

Multiple Activity Records Dated with the Same Record Date

For any single tracker, Scope 5 does not expect multiple records with the same activity date. This condition is ambiguous. For example, in the case of a tracker tracking average office area, how should Scope 5 interpret the presence of multiple records for the same day? Should it add them? Average them? Use one or the other?

The new functionality handles this condition in a deterministic manner. When there are multiple records dated for the same day, Scope 5 results will be as if there was a single activity record for that day, combining the actual records as follows:

  • In the case of summing trackers, Scope 5 will sum the values for all activity records dated for the same day and will use the total value as the single value for the day.
  • In the case of averaging trackers, Scope 5 will average the values for all activity records dated for the same day and will use the average value as the single value for the day.

Retired Averaging Tracker Query Ranges

This functionality change affects only averaging, ongoing, periodic trackers. These are rare – averaging, ongoing trackers are usually a-periodic.

For this type of tracker, previous functionality would calculate an average value only over the time that the tracker was active, regardless of the duration of the query. Consider for example, a tracker that has a single activity record with a value of 1000 square feet, dated for the first day of calendar year 2016. Let’s assume that the tracker was retired exactly in the middle of the year. In response to a query for the tracker’s activity over the date range 1/1/2016 to 1/1/2017, Scope 5 would have returned 1000 square feet.

New functionality returns the average result over the entire query range assuming zero activity before and after the tracker’s active period. In this case, the same query would return approximately 500 square feet, assuming zero area after the tracker was retired. This averaging range difference is illustrated in Figure 2. 

queryspan.png

Figure 2 - Changed Averaging Range for Queries for Averaging Trackers

Accurate Sub-Month Results

Previous functionality always prorated all activity data for each calendar month uniformly across that month. As a result, queries spanning partial months were not always accurate. For example, consider the following activity records for an accruing, summing tracker representing an electricity account:

Record Date  Record Value
1/17/2016  110 kWh
1/31/2016  200 kWh

Assume that the tracker came online on 1/1/2016. Previous functionality would have attributed all usage (310 kWh in total) from both activity records to January of 2016 and would have distributed it uniformly across the 31 days of the month. The application would have calculated a per-diem usage of 10 kWh (310/31) for each day of the month.

New functionality distributes the activity data more accurately. The application calculates a per-diem value of 200/14 for the 14 days between 1/17 and 1/31 and a separate per-diem value of 110/17 for the first 17 days of the month. This causes a change in results for non-month aligned queries.

Specifically, a query for electricity consumed during the last seven days of the month would have returned 170 kWh (7 * 310/31). By contrast, the new functionality returns 100 kWh (7 * 200/14).

This is illustrated below.

submonth.png

Figure 3 - Increased Sub-Month Accuracy

This change in functionality increases the accuracy of the results of queries that span partial months. It has minimal impact on previous results as most queries are month aligned anyway.

No Calculation of Dependent Metrics for Source Trackers

Trackers designated as source trackers for connected tracker sets should point to internal ‘dummy’ resources – resources that have no actual conversion factors. Due to a bug in prior versions, some source trackers pointed to internal resources that do have conversion factors. This could potentially have resulted in double counting in rare cases in which user error conspired with the bug to include source tracker derived impact results. 

New functionality will never calculate impact data for trackers designated as source trackers.

No Extrapolation for a-Periodic Trackers that are Ongoing or Averaging

Prior functionality extrapolated data for all periodic and a-periodic trackers. The new functionality will not extrapolate data for a-periodic trackers that are either ongoing or averaging. 

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