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Background to carbon calculators and tools

BRANZ developed the New Zealand whole-building whole-of-life framework to provide tools, data and information to support decision making for sustainable building design. The framework uses the techniques of carbon footprinting and life cycle assessment.

Calculating environmental impact

Carbon footprinting is a calculation method that provides an understanding of the potential climate change impact of building design. It is powerful when it is used to inform decisions during the design process. It is also part of a more holistic calculation method called life cycle assessment, which considers multiple environmental issues.

BRANZ supports these calculations through a suite of tools. The life cycle assessment tools are LCAQuick and LCAPlay. These estimate the climate change impact as well as other environmental indicators such as eutrophication and fossil fuel depletion. The carbon footprint tools are CO₂NSTRUCT, CO₂MPARE and CO₂RE.

LCAQuick: Life cycle assessment tool

Use LCAQuick to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions (and other environmental impacts) associated with building designs and to iteratively reduce or design out carbon (and other environmental impacts).

LCAPlay: Options assessment tool

Use LCAPlay to evaluate the potential greenhouse gas emissions (and other environmental impacts) of alternative building options. Easy and quick to use.

CO₂NSTRUCT: Embodied carbon and energy dataset

CO₂NSTRUCT contains embodied greenhouse gas and energy data for construction materials and products. The data in CO₂NSTRUCT is derived from numerous sources and provided in the database with a data quality metric.

CO₂MPARE: Building carbon footprint dataset

Provides mean carbon footprint values for New Zealand case study residential and office buildings. Includes additional information, such as energy use intensity and top contributing materials from a greenhouse gas perspective.

CO₂RE: Residential building element carbon footprint dataset

Provides calculated carbon footprints per square metre for residential roof, wall and floor constructions obtained from the BRANZ House Insulation Guide (5th edition). Enables ranking based on desired construction R-value.