The Nine-Step Approach to Resource Efficiency

STEP 4: Assessment Phase – Data Gathering Phase 2

If the need for more detailed analysis or gathering of information has been identified in Phase 1 then a Material and Energy Flow Analysis of a system can identify the main areas of resource use and also waste generation. Flow analysis can involve waste, water, fuel, electricity and emissions audits. The input/output balance is based on the principle that 'what goes in must come out', observing flows, wastes and emissions.

The data must then be presented in a form that will maximise their usefulness. The types of tools which may be useful include:

  • Indicators or key performance indicators (KPIs) e.g. water used per kilo of product, waste generated per employee
  • Metrics - use of indicators to monitor performance e.g. electricity use per kilo of product over time
  • Benchmarks can be generated for comparing performance with similar national or international businesses and can be used to identify best practice opportunities

Tip! Normalising parameters for a school's waste arisings would be kg per student - then it would be possible to compare different schools. For a canteen, it would be kg of food waste per cover, etc. For a list of waste based factors for different sectors click here.

Look at the detailed data analysis carried out in CIT as part of the Green Campus Programme.