Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Will this calculate the carbon released when I heat my building? This calculator is for embodied carbon - the carbon that was released when a building was built. It takes into account average amounts for building materials, getting them to the site and installing them in the building. There are a number of calculators available that do address operational carbon - the carbon that is released annually to keep a building operating. In the future we plan on having a calculator of that type on our website, but for now if you look at our Offset section, there are links there to Offset Retailers who have calculators available that address operational carbon.
  • What eco-region am I in? There is a link at the eco-region input location on the calculator to a United States Environmental Protection Agency map that lists the eco-regions that we include in the calculator. There are a few that we have left out of the calculator for simplicity. If your region is not represented in this version of the calculator, for the purposes of estimation, use one that is similar to yours.
  • What if I am not located in the United States? The calculator was initially produced for projects in the United States. The numbers are averaged estimates, and there are conditions that are not specifically addressed in the numbers. The calculator produces an estimate that can be used to address reducing your embodied carbon footprint, renewing the resources used to construct or install your project, and offset the carbon released. Some estimation, even if it isn't tailored specifically to your project or your location will be a positive step. Reducing, renewing and offsetting are valid actions to take, no matter where your project is located.
  • How accurate is the result? The calculator has been built on averaged data to estimate an approximate carbon value for a project. We are hoping that it will be in a range of accuracy that balances the low numbers on projects with the high numbers on projects. There are Life Cycle Analysis programs that can generate carbon estimates tailored specifically to your project. These are available for purchase for your use, or you can engage a quantity surveyor or other design or environmental consultant to generate a report for your project. This calculator is intended as a simplified version, easy to use, but with less accuracy than the commercial products.
  • My project is LEED Platinum - does the calculator take this into account? Not yet. The future versions will include more choices for projects that are willing to go into greater depth. As an example, certified wood (wood that can be guaranteed to be sustainably harvested and replanted) compensates for the embodied energy to dress the wood and install it in the project, and allows the wood on a project to be considered a carbon sink - a place to sequester carbon fixed from the atmosphere.
  • What is shrubland? We will be adding descriptions of the landscape types to the site in the near future.

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