The Carbon Strategy tool is quite different from the Green House Gas reporting tools however will feel familiar to those who have performed building life cycle assessments. Its intended use is to allow you to translate your LCA results into GHG reporting data.
As organisational Greenhouse Gas (GHG) or carbon reporting becomes mandatory for more medium to large companies, a common concern is how to source accurate data from suppliers.
For companies involved in real estate and construction, high-quality data is likely to be available in the form of project life-cycle assessments (LCAs). However, until now, it has been challenging to translate project-specific LCA data to GHG Protocol scopes and categories.
Our Carbon Strategy Tool solves this problem by reliably translating LCA project data into GHG reporting in line with the GHG Protocol.
The tool can be used by architects, engineers, and construction companies for sharing LCA data that their real estate, investor, or developer clients can use in their carbon reporting.
Project LCA data is the highest quality GHG data available. Import your LCA results into the tool for accurate GHG reporting.
Tick off all the project activities that are owned or controlled by your organisation and which are controlled by a third party, for example, a supplier. After that generate results in a format that meets the requirements of the GHG Protocol reporting.
Before understanding this tool it is good to be aware of the difference between LCA and GHG reporting.
Who controls the activity that causes the emissions
The GHG Protocol groups emissions into three scopes according to who controls the activity: the reporting company or a separate organisation. By contrast, an LCA is not concerned with who controls an activity, just the fact that it happens.
The GHG Protocol scopes are:
- Scope 1: direct emissions released as a result of company activities.
- Scope 2: indirect emissions from purchased energy.
- Scope 3: all other indirect emissions, that are not included in scope 2.
When emissions are reported
An LCA looks at the entire life cycle of a product or service. whereas the GHG Protocol reports emissions based on the period in which they arose. This is often a calendar year or a quarter.
Where future emissions are locked-in to sold products, they are accounted for in Scope 3 emissions in specific categories.
Construction LCA results are grouped into life-cycle stages ranging from A to D, covering life-cycle phases from construction to use phase to end of life and impacts beyond the system boundary.
Which emissions are reported
The standard emission factors basis of the GHG Protocol differs from construction LCAs.
GHG Protocol Scopes 1 and 2 only cover direct combustion emissions from the seven Kyoto protocol gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PCFs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).
Construction LCAs, however, always use life cycle based emission factors and consider all greenhouse gases.
How do you complete an assessment?
The input pages (building materials, energy consumption, etc.) match the input pages of the most common building life-cycle assessment tools. This allows you to add the Carbon Strategy directly to an already completed design, the information in it will automatically be filled from the existing design.
The results page is in quite a different format from construction LCA however, it will automatically generate results for GHG compliance.
What type of data goes to which of the scopes?
We will elaborate on which sections of the construction LCA input pages translate to the results sections on the Carbon Strategy tool results page.
- Scope 1 & Scope 2 emissions come from the construction site operations.
- Scope 3, Category 1 comes from the building materials.
- Scope 3, Category 4 comes from the transportation of materials.
- Scope 3, Category 5 comes from material wastage (not included with all LCA tools).
- Scope 3, Category 11 comes from use phase emissions, replacements, and operational emissions.
- Scope 3, Category 12 comes from end-of-life emissions.
It will display the total scope 3 emissions and the total scope 1-3 emissions. A variety of graphs and report options are available (depending on your license).