Real-time carbon emissions monitoring a new tool for combatting climate change in northern Nevada

City of Reno and Washoe County are the first in the nation to deploy the technology

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak offers comments about a ground-breaking carbon emissions monitoring system being deployed in northern Nevada at Reno Fire Station 11 on July 1, 2021 - photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally

Today, at Reno Fire Station 11, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, and Washoe County Commission Chair Bob Lucey offered comments about the statewide partnership with Ledger 8760, a northern Nevada-based software startup that has developed leading carbon emissions mapping technology. 

Ledger 8760 already uses this technology in the private sector, a platform that aggregates and analyzes real-time carbon emission data and tracks it against emission reduction targets outlined in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Adam Kramer is the chief executive officer of Ledger 8760. After today’s presentation on the partnership, Kramer told the Ally that Ledger 8760 has been focused on helping companies better understand their carbon emissions footprint, from vehicles, heating and cooling, to travel. For regional governments, the data points are more numerous.

“We’re taking data feeds, whether it’s coming from the utility, from a building management system, from vehicle information and the computers in there. We’re taking all of that data and normalizing it, and making it so that it’s actually actionable.

“So you get rid of silos within any organization that are, ‘Hey I’m doing travel,’ or ‘I’m doing the fleet management,’ ‘I’m doing building management,’ and we’re like, ‘no no.’ At the end of the day you have two things in common, which are – what are your emissions related to everything that you’re doing? What are the costs related to this?

“Because as we work to understand both of those things holistically, we can work to drive both of those things down. Really we’ve seen that as the gap, people not being able to have that single, clear pane of glass to look at everything.”  

Nevada has one of the fastest growing populations of any state and is also one of the most arid. Air quality is a pressing issue in both northern and southern Nevada, especially in the context of widespread annual wildfires in surrounding regions. As development continues to spread farther from urban centers in Clark County and northern Nevada, automobiles add significant amounts of CO2 and other climate-altering gasses into the environment.

“Housing is important, where it’s going to develop, where it’s going to move forward, water consumption, water availability. Those are all things that are going to have to be factored in to these decisions, but the more information you can gather the better decisions you can make,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. “Ledger 8760 is going to give us the opportunity to gather more information and make better decisions.”

The state is intending to use some of the data collected in northern Nevada as directed by SB245, a bill passed during the 2019 Legislative Session that mandates an annual report on statewide carbon emissions.

The public-private partnership comes with a cost for the City of Reno and Washoe County. On May 16 of this year the Reno City Council approved up to $97,000 in spending on the Ledger 8760 project. The funding comes from the City’s Green Energy Bond Fund.

Washoe County approved a three-year agreement with Ledger 8760 during their June 8 meeting. Spending on the project is limited to $86,000 for fiscal year 2022 with a three year contract total of $230,000. City and County spending on the Ledger 8760 project over the next three years adds up to $327,000. 

Washoe County Commission Chair Bob Lucey spoke to those gathered in Reno Fire House 11 about the partnership with Ledger 8760 – photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally

Could the City or County duplicate the expertise and technology needed to bring together disparate data in an actionable form for $327,000? Likely not. Washoe County Commission Chair Bob Lucey described the public-private partnership potential as “tremendous.” 

“Without these public-private partnerships, we wouldn’t have the ability to access this type of information. It’s tremendously expensive on the open market to get to. Not many people do it. So we’re very fortunate that Ledger 8760 started here locally in the state of Nevada, and we have direct access to it,” Commissioner Lucey said.

Lucey conceded that data from the project could potentially limit development in the region but added that not knowing more about the sources of carbon emissions was tantamount to flying blind.

Given a clear view of regional carbon emissions, through a single, actionable, pane, Adam Kramer said ways to reduce carbon emissions will become evident.

“What we believe right now is that there is low-hanging fruit, and a lot of that hasn’t been picked yet,” Kramer explained. “As we are able to build data sets over time, we’re able to look at this and start to identify ways in which that data becomes deeper and more analytical to help provide for decision making, and I think that those are tools that can be used around these jurisdictions to shape policy and to help make future decisions.”