It is all about the data!

What data is required for the Baseline Emission Inventory?

The commitment of the Covenant of Mayors is transformed into practical actions by establishing a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP)*. In the action plan, you carry out a Baseline Emission Inventory in order to document the status of the local emissions of greenhouse gases during a reference year.

Take a few minutes to learn about the Baseline Emission Inventory and what data is required.

This education was developed within the EU project EMPOWERING,

The lesson takes 5-10 minutes.

*which before the 2015 revised Covenant of Mayors, was named Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)

Mitigation of GHG emissions

The mitigation part in the action plan (SECAP) focuses on GHG emissions from final energy use in sectors under the local authority.

The mitigation part includes:

  1. CO2 emissions* in the base year (reference).
  2. Mitigation actions planned and their estimated energy savings, renewable energy production and CO2 reduction.
  3. Follow-ups every two years of the status of the CO2 emissions, and the final reduction in the target year.

*or GHG emissions expressed as CO2 equivalent

Baseline Emission Inventory, BEI

The Baseline Emission Inventory is the starting point of the mitigation of the GHG emissions as it is where you quantify the amount of CO2 emitted, during the base year. This is done for the key sectors, as well as other optional sectors, operating within the local territory.

The BEI is based on the final energy consumption, including both municipal and non-municipal energy use. It covers direct emissions from fuel combustion in buildings and facilities as well as transportations. It also covers indirect emissions related to the production of electricity, heat and cold that are consumed within the territory.

There are two alternatives for finding BEI data:

  • Collection of actual data. This option is strongly recommended!
  • Estimation of data. Only when actual data is not available. In this case, assumptions must comply with the requirements of the Covenant of Mayors.

The geographical boundaries of the BEI are the administrative boundaries of the local authority.

Base year

The base year is the reference year which your inventory refers to and for which the data is quantified. It is the emission in the base year that the achieved reduction in the target year is compared to.

It is recommended that you use 1990 as the base year, in order to be inline with EU targets, such as the target of a GHG reduction by 40% to 2030 compared to 1990. In case this is not possible, the closest subsequent year shall be selected where comprehensive and reliable data are available.

Other information of interest is the number of inhabitants of the region in question in order to calculate per capita indicators.

Energy use


You collect data on the final energy use for sectors under the local authority, where the key sectors (mandatory) are:

  • Municipal buildings – buildings and facilities that are public or owned by the local authority, e.g. government offices, schools, police stations, hospitals, etc.
  • Tertiary buildings – includes services such as offices of private companies, banks, commercial and retail activities, private schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Residential buildings – buildings that are primarily used for residential purposes.
  • Transports – e.g. municipal car fleet and local public transport.

You specify the energy use for each energy carrier, including:

  • Electricity delivered to end-users (the purchase of certified green electricity can be stated)
  • Heat and cold delivered to end-users (e.g. district heating and cooling)
  • Fossil fuels consumed by end-users
  • Renewable energies consumed by end-users

Energy supply

You are able to include the locally produced energy – both from renewable and non-renewable energy sources – in the BEI following certain criteria*.

The local production of energy are considered in the calculation of the local emission factors, that are applied to the local consumption of electricity and heat/cold.

This data is also utilised to visualise the proportion of locally produced energy compared to total energy use, where the share of renewable energy sources is shown separately.

* The criteria are that the plant is not included in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) or that the capacity is not above 20MW.

CO2 emissions

CO2 emissions are calculated for each energy carrier by multiplying the energy consumption with the corresponding emission factor – expressed as either tonnes CO2 or CO2 equivalent* per MWh energy.

Emission factors could be calculated by two approaches:

  • Standard emission factors (IPCC), which are based on the carbon content of each fuel, and cover the final use of the fuel.
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) emission factors, which in addition to the final use of the fuel, also cover all emissions of the supply chain, i.e. emissions from exploitation, transport and processing of the fuel.

Default emission factors are available for different fuels, but you can also choose emission factors that are more appropriate for your local context.

You need to calculate the local emission factors for electricity and heat/cold based on the local energy production mix. To also show the effect of changes in the national power grid mix, you need to state the national emission factor for electricity.

*CO2 equivalents are used if you consider other green house gases as well as CO2

Guidebook and templates

To support the signatories to carry out a Baseline Emission Inventory, you will find the following documents useful.

  • In the online library of the Covenant of Mayors Office
    • A guidebook on BEI can be found – Guidebook ‘How to develop a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP)’. PART 2 – Baseline Emission Inventory (BEI) and Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (RVA)
    • The SECAP template can be found, where data shall be entered.
  • There is an Empowering template for the collection of data on energy use and energy supply,

For general support, turn to


SECAP walkthrough Part 2

The second SECAP webinar was mainly dedicated to where to find data, how to collect them and how to analyse data (analysis capacity). The tool “data collection template” developed by our partner CRES is fully explained in this session from 19 June 2018.

Test of own knowledge

Test your knowledge!

Test your knowledge! Answer this questionnaire before and after the session and you will know how much you have learnt!


EMPOWERING data collection template

BEI calculation and forecasting tool methodological tool.

Methodology for data

Where to find data, how to collect data, and how to analyse data – a presentation by Christos Tourkolias.

Regional challenges

To identify challenges was part of the homework to SECAP Walkthrough part 2 – presentation by Anna Sager, RISE.

The data collection template

Revisit EMPOWERING data collection template – a presentation by Effie Korma, CRES.

Good practices

Good Practices database

Link: Covenant Signatories are sharing their key actions as a source of inspiration for others. In our Good Practices database you will find achievements, case studies, city profiles, videos and more!

Sinfonia smart cities

Link:  Sinfona smart cities knowledge center.


Link:  Learn how to plan sustainable energy and mobility together.

Material and links

EMPOWERING methodological tool

Excel: EMPOWERING data collection template, BEI calculation and forecasting tool.

Training tools

Link:  Mayors in Action Tools and Methodologies for Implementation of Sustainable Energy Actions and Measures.

Guidelines methodological tool

How to use the new features of the tool.

Case study assumptions

Download pdf.

EDGAR - Covenant of Mayors

Link: The Covenant of Mayors approach on building emission inventories.

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