Inventory of Carbon & Energy methodology for materials by area



This methodology represents embodied energy, carbon dioxide (CO2) and CO2e emissions associated with the use of various materials as specified on the basis of area quantities. The data and calculation methodology is sourced from the Inventory of Carbon & Energy (ICE), version 2.0 life cycle dataset, produced in conjunction with the University of Bath.

The methodology

Emissions model

The methodology is based on factors which describe the quantities of energy and CO2 which are 'embodied' within unit quantities of various materials. By multiplying a quantity of material - in this case, an area quantity - by these factors, an estimate of the embodied energy and emissions associated with that quantity can be calculated.

Model data

Embodied energy and emissions vary between types of material because of each material's differing raw material and manufacturing requirements. This methodology represents 31 different materials scenarios, each differentiated by their material name (e.g. paint, carpet, road) and type and subtype descriptors (e.g. single coat, hot asphalt, pile weight 300 g/m2).

Each specific type of material is represented by up to three data values, representing:

  • embodied energy per unit area (MJ/m2)
  • embodied CO2 per unit area (kg/m2)
  • embodied CO2e per unit area (kg/m2)

For some materials, unit CO2e emissions are not explicitly defined.

In addition, each material is described by a life cycle analysis boundary, indicating the stages in the material life cycle which are represented by the energy and CO2 factors, and in most cases author notes on the sourcing of the data.

Activity data required

Embodied energy and emissions are directly proportionate to the quantity of material used (i.e. area), which therefore must be available in order to calculate.

Calculation and results

Embodied energy and emissions are calculated by multiplying the specified quantity of material used by the available factors. Up to three values are returned representing the embodied energy, and CO2 or CO2e emissions attributable to the specified quantity.

Related methodologies

Several other methodologies sourced from the ICE database are available. While this methodology deals with area-based material quantities, material life cycle emissions can also be calculated on the basis of mass. The mass-based methodology represents the bulk of the ICE database.

In addition, there exist several methodologies which provide data and calculations specific to particular types of materials, for example concrete, timber (including biogenic CO2 emissions) and windows.

Details of the sources of data for the ICE database are also available.

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