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Emission Factors Role in Calculating Carbon Footprint

We use our expertise to map the correct factors to the relevant indicators to ensure the CO2e values generated by Turbo Carbon are correct.

February 25, 2020

Carbon footprint emissions factors

Emission factors (EF’s) are values that can be applied to anything that uses fuels or raw materials as a result of consumption or usage by an individual or organisation that results in the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG’s).

EF’s are most typically measured as mass per unit of consumption e.g. Tonnes per MWh. The most typical gases for which EF’s are published are CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), CH4 (Methane), N2O (Nitrous Oxide). The combined total of these is known as CO2e (Carbon dioxide equivalent).

This attributes a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 1 to CO2 and a value to all other gases dependent on how much GWP it has in relation to CO2. This GWP value is multiplied by the mass per unit of consumption value to produce a component value that can aggregate CO2, CH4 and N2O to produce the CO2e value.

Because carbon is the most common GHG emitted, this makes up the majority of GHG emissions, however, CH4 and N2O have a much higher GWP than CO2, whilst refrigerant gases (also known as fugitive gases), typically have GWP’s thousands of times higher than CO2.

Turbo Carbon and emission factors

Various organisations and countries publish EF sets which contain EF types. These will have global and specific country EF’s which can vary between EF sets.

Turbo Carbon uses data from more than 20 EF sets published by organisations worldwide. Typically, but not exclusively these are government departments and cover thousands of Factor Types including energy, refrigerants, waste, water, supply chain and travel & transport and contain values for global and specific country EF’s.

Most EF sets are published annually or bi-annually with updated values based on the latest EF calculation methodology. New EF types are also added each year to expand the portfolio available, this enables organisations to be as accurate as possible in reporting their emissions and meet their external emissions reporting criteria.

Turbo Carbon improves carbon footprint

With such broad range of EF’s and EF sets available, we use our expertise to map the correct factors to the relevant indicators to ensure the CO2e values generated by Turbo Carbon are correct and up to date.

Written by Leigh Carter, UL’s Emission Factor and Reporting Framework Specialist