A carbon footprint is the sum of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. methane, nitrous oxide) emitted by a product, building, company or country. Knowledge about the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is the first step to reducing them.
Why is it important?
The European Union has announced that it will achieve climate neutrality by 2050. EU implements this goal through legislation (European Green Deal, NFRD, EU Taxonomy) and also commits large sums of money to this plan – environmental funding has been significantly increased, with 37% of the EU’s Reconstruction Fund (€750 billion) and 30% of the European Green Deal funds being dedicated to climate protection.
Construction industry and emissions
The real estate sector is responsible for around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it uses many carbon-intensive products such as steel and concrete. Thus, by switching to more sustainable solutions, it can take part in reducing global emissions and move towards climate neutrality. Some companies are already using low-carbon concrete in their projects.
Builings’ carbon footprint
The calculation of a building’s carbon footprint uses Life Cycle Assessment analysis, which, based on EN 15978:2021, takes into account the entire life cycle of a building:
- Product phase – includes the process of the creation of building materials, i.e. the extraction of raw materials, transport and the energy required to produce them,
- Construction phase – considers all the processes involved in the construction and erection of a building,
- Use phase – considers the operation of the building,
- End-of-life phase – includes the processes involved in demolition.
Analysing the carbon footprint as early as the design stage of the building will reduce the embedded carbon footprint, while energy efficiency will reduce operational emissions, so it is important both to choose certified low-carbon materials and to minimise the consumption of utilities, i.e. energy, water, etc.
Organisation’s carbon footprint
Knowledge about the amount of greenhouse gases emitted allows a company to efficiently manage its environmental and climate impact. The most widely used standard for calculating product and company emissions is the GHG Protocol. More than 90 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use this standard.
It divides emissions into 3 scopes (Scope 1, 2, 3).
- Scope 1 relates to direct emissions – those from the company’s fuel combustion.
- Scope 2 is emissions related to purchased energy.
- Scope 3 relates to emissions from the supply chain, employee commuting, business travel, purchased utilities, remote working and much more.
In addition to the GHG Protocol, ISO 14 064, ISO 14 065 and ISO 14 066 are also used.
Even industries that are not associated with emissions are responsible for the production of greenhouse gases. This is because almost every activity performed is associated with CO2 emissions – for example, one email is about 4g of CO2, and storing 100 GB of data in the cloud for a year generates about 200 kg of CO2. Therefore, almost every company contributes to climate warming if it does not take steps towards climate neutrality.
What Go4Energy can do for you?
We offer our clients support in calculating the carbon footprint of both the building and the organisation:
- calculations of the carbon footprint of a building according to Life Cycle Assessment analysis,
- calculation of an organisation’s carbon footprint in accordance with the GHG Protocol,
- preparation of a decarbonisation strategy,
- preparation of a strategy for achieving corporate climate neutrality.
We also support the implementation of ESG and sustainability activities:
- creation of ESG reports for buildings and organisations,
- development of a sustainability strategy tailored to the specific client,
- identification and verification of compliance with the EU Taxonomy to confirm the sustainability of investments according to EU requirements for both existing and new buildings,
- carrying out an analysis of the impact of BREEAM, LEED and WELL certification on the Taxonomy,
- advice on EU climate change regulations.
If you need support in the process of calculating the carbon footprint of your building or organisation, we invite you to contact us. Our experts will provide your organisation with expert advice and support at every stage of the process.