CO2 User Guide

Introduction and User Guide

Introduction to the ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator is a tool to estimate the carbon footprint of construction equipment over its entire life cycle.

It is applicable to all types of construction equipment, from mini excavators to wheel loaders and from generators to boom lifts (only hand tools are excluded).
The calculator estimates the carbon footprint of a piece of equipment per hour of use. Expressing the results per hour of (active) use enables comparisons across different types of equipment and over a wide range of ownership scenarios. The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator can be used to evaluate a single ownership period of a piece of equipment.

The calculator’s results can for instance be used to:
  • Investigate which part of the life cycle has the largest contribution to the carbon footprint of equipment;
  • Compare different equipment use scenarios;
  • Study the effects of changes to a baseline use scenario, such as measures to reduce the footprint;
  • Evaluate the effects of alternative fuel consumption.


The methodology of the ERA Equipment CO2 calculator and its environmental background data have been developed by CE Delft and are based on findings of the 2019 report Carbon footprint of construction equipment.
 

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator requires basic information from the user regarding the equipment’s characteristics and use, for instance regarding its life span, utilisation and fuel consumption. The user is guided through these steps one-by-one. The information entered by the user is combined with background data to estimate the carbon footprint of the equipment over its entire life cycle.

Methodology of the calculator

One machine, during one ownership period

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator is designed to assess the carbon footprint of one piece of construction equipment. Construction equipment is often owned by various owners before finally being discarded. The calculator can be used by any owner within the total life span of the equipment.

The life cycle of equipment

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator considers the carbon footprint of the whole life cycle of construction equipment. The results encompass the manufacturing of the equipment, the use phase and end-of-life treatment. The Calculator is specifically designed to assess the impact of use scenarios of construction equipment. The user can specify key parameters:
  • lifetime and utilization
  • transport to/from the job site
  • energy consumption (type and efficiency)
  • motor oil consumption
 
Although the impact of the manufacturing of the equipment itself is taken into account in the calculator and in the results, the calculator is not a tool to perform life cycle assessment (LCA) of the manufacturing of the equipment. For the impact of the manufacturing and also for the end-of-life treatment of the equipment, the Calculator makes use of carbon footprint results from existing LCA studies. OEMs might have carbon footprint results of their products or are in the position to (let) perform LCA to calculate the carbon footprint of a specific piece of equipment. If no LCA results are available, the Calculator can provide an estimate of the carbon footprint of equipment manufacturing and end-of-life based on its weight.
 
Click here for more information on the use of existing LCA results in the Calculator.

Carbon footprint: impact on climate change

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator calculates the impact of using equipment on climate change. The climate change impact is also often referred to as the carbon footprint of a product. The carbon footprint measures the contribution of a product to global climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases.

 
In the ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator, the carbon footprint of all greenhouse gases is taken into account. CO2 or carbon dioxide is the most important and well-known greenhouse gas. Other important greenhouses gases include methane (CH4) and dinitrogen monoxide (N2O). These other gas emissions are included and expressed in the final result in their CO2 equivalent.

From user input to carbon footprint per hour of use

The calculator’s results are expressed per hour of active use of the equipment. This is done to enable fair comparison between use scenarios. In addition, this makes it possible to use the tool for any ownership period.
 
For better understanding, the figure below shows an example how information in the calculator is translated to the impact per hour.

Frequently Asked Question

The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator is open for use by anyone interested in construction equipment. It is mostly intended for use, though, by rental companies, contractors, equipment OEMs and public authorities. The calculator can be used to investigate the environmental impact of a single piece of equipment or an entire fleet. It could also be used to estimate the carbon footprint of equipment used at a particular construction jobsite.


The ERA Equipment CO2 Calculator contains the option to estimate the carbon footprint for the production and end-of-life stages of construction equipment based on the equipment weight, but this estimate does not apply to hand tools or other types of equipment (modular space units etc). This weight-based estimate was developed based on information for larger equipment (1,500 to 15,000 kg). Because hand tools are lighter and composed of different materials, the weight-based estimate can lead to incorrect results.

For other types of equipment outside of larger construction equipment (such as hand tools, modular space units, forklifts, pumps etc.), the calculator can only be used for provided that the user has an LCA from the manufacturer of the specific product is available.