Carbon Counting (1)

Posted on 20th July, 2009

Most of you will be familiar with the term ‘embodied energy’ – i.e. the energy used to extract, make and deliver a product or material. Since not all energy is environmentally harmful a better way of determining a product’s impact on the environment is to assess its quantity of ‘Whole Life Carbon’ (WLc). Most construction materials cause the emission of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ to some extent during their life cycle.

Note that other gases create a different magnitude of greenhouse effect from that of carbon (e.g. methane which has about 23 times greater effect than carbon dioxide), but for convenience all are given a ‘carbon equivalent’ value for the purposes of calculations. This is a big subject and I will write more on it later.

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