Improving the Use of Energy in Buildings

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Home > Existing Buildings > CO2 Calculator

Simple Carbon Calculator

Now includes 2013 data

Calculate your CO2 with our easy to use calculatorThis page contains a simple carbon calculator for use by UK organisations based upon the 2013 recommended conversion factors provided by Defra as part of its Environmental Reporting Guidelines.

We regret that we have temporarily discontinued the Carbon Workout section of the NEF website.

Calculate your footprint

This is a free simple calculator designed to enable estimated carbon footprints to be calculated by most UK organisations. If you need a more sophisticated service, or help in setting the boundary or scope of your calculation, we can also offer more comprehensive help and support on a paid-for basis, as described on our Carbon Footprinting Services page.

1. First select the best description of the electricity source from the drop down below. You can use two sources; if in doubt use "Average UK Grid Electricity". And if you want to calculate emissions from road transport using miles, use the third list to select type, size and fuel of vehicle used. There are separate factors in the main table for trains, buses and aeroplanes.
Main source of electricity:
Second source of electricity:
Type of car/bike used for mileage estimates:

2. Now type the energy value from your bill or records into the left column. Then click anywhere outside the cell you just filled. The answer will appear in the column to the right
 Energy Value
Conversion Factor
 Result
Building or Process Energy Values
kWh electricity (main source)
(See notes)
kgCO2
kWh electricity (second source)
(See notes)
kgCO2
kWh natural gas
* 0.18404 =
kgCO2
therms natural gas
* 5.3937 =
kgCO2
litres domestic heating oil (kerosine)
* 2.5380 =
kgCO2
litres heating oil (gasoil)
* 2.9343 =
kgCO2
litres of propane/butane
* 1.4929 =
kgCO2
tonnes of heavy fuel oil
* 3,233 =
kgCO2
tonnes of coal
* 2,815 =
kgCO2
Transport Energy Values
litres of petrol
* 2.2144 =
kgCO2
litres of diesel
* 2.6008 =
kgCO2
litres of Auto LPG
* 1.4929 =
kgCO2
miles in a car/taxi/bike
(see above)
kgCO2
miles on a train, tram, tube or coach
* 0.08 =
kgCO2
miles on Eurostar
* 0.02 =
kgCO2
miles on a local bus
* 0.18 =
kgCO2
miles in an aeroplane
* 0.31 =
kgCO2
Optional Extra Data:
Floor Area (m2) No. of Staff
Results:

Non-renewable energy in buildings & processes:
kWh

Total Non-renewable Energy: kWh

Energy per m2 Energy per Employee kWh
Building Use

Total emissions: kgCO2

equivalent to kg Carbon

Help and Advice

We may be able to offer limited help and advice, without charge, if you send an e-mail to calculators@nef.org.uk, but this is limited by staff availability. We can also offer more comprehensive help and support on a paid-for basis, as described on our Carbon Footprinting Services page.

Please don't use this simple calculator for statutory reporting under Climate Change Agreements of the new CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. A table of factors to apply for the CRC can be found on the Environment Agency's website.

All figures include the incremental emissions due to other GHGs such as CH4 and N2O, so they are compatible with Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions reporting under the GHG Protocol. They still exclude emissions associated with the production of fuels, such as oil refining or fuel distribution, so are not suitable for use with Scope 3 reporting.

Which electricity factor should we use?

This table offers a number of factors for converting electricity to its carbon dioxide equivalent. The default one is based on 2012 emissions and is recommended unless you have a good reason to use another factor: the average figure is uses the total UK electricity generation mix of coal, nuclear and gas turbines, as well as renewables. Previously this was based on a 5 year rolling average, to smooth out year on year changes caused by factors such as the operating performance of nuclear power stations and the latest developments in wind energy. From 2013, the prior year figure should be used, as it is a better indicator or the current generating mix.

For electricity generated from renewable sources, zero carbon dioxide emissions may be used if the supply has been generated onsite. It was formerly acceptable to use zero for electricity bought on a certified green tariff, but in 2008 Defra decided that green tariffs should be reported using the same factor as for average grid electricity. Although we allow a zero factor for onsite renewables generated, this should only be used if REGOs are not traded. However for the reverse calculation back to energy, we have omitted renewables from the kWh totals. The former marginal factor for electricity and typical CHP purchased values have also now (2010) been removed from the table.

For other countries, the electricity component would need to be adjusted based upon primary fuel mix. Defra now publishes a table of factors for 56 countries - only a few key countries where Britons have holiday homes or major manufacturing centres are included above. Note these factors can change significantly from year to year - between 2011 and 2013 many fell with Poland and Russia notable exceptions.

What do these figures mean?

Around half UK CO2 emissions come from industry and commerce, including the use of transport to deliver goods. This calculator should help smaller companies identify their carbon footprint, based on available records of energy used. Larger organisations, which have already taken steps to reduce energy use and their carbon footprint, are advised to find out more about the Carbon Trust Standard, which uses a more sophisticated carbon calculation.

How do they compare with household emissions?

Although this calculator was designed for use by small offices, it can easily be used to produce a figure for household emissions. Ignoring transport emissions, the Energy Regulator (Ofgem) suggests that typical annual energy use in a gas heated home is around 16,500kWh for gas and 3,300kWh for electricity. This equates to 4.855tCO2 per annum, but excludes any contribution from oil, LPG or solid fuels. This typical value also excludes the distorting effect of a few very large or badly insulated homes, which increase the average (mean) value.

If you want to compare household usage against the strict average (mean) values, then these are estimated each year by DECC. Recent data (2008) can be summarised as:

Fuel Type

Total use (TWh)

kgCO2/kWh

GtCO2

Solid Fuel

8,762

0.34010

2,980

Gas

359,554

0.18523

66,600

Electricity

125,811

0.54160

68,139

Oil

35,278

0.24683

8,708

Total CO2 emissions

146,427

Total UK Households (000s)

26,336

Average CO2 emissions per household (tonnes)

5.560

The data above is (c) NEF, based on Tables 3.7 and 3.3 of DECC Energy Consumption UK statistics. Conversion factors include CH4 and N2O, and are calculated on a gross calorific value basis. No adjustment is made for LPG in the gas figures; solid fuel conversions are based on domestic house coal.

Where do these figures come from?

All data in this CO2 calculator is based upon the official 2010 guidelines from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, originally published in 2001. Emissions for other fuels can be found on Defra's Environmental Reporting page. Figures have been updated to include the Junbe 2013 (updated to December 2013) data where applicable. This table only gives some of the main conversion factors, and CO2 equivalents are given on a Gross Calorific Value basis: Defra intends to move to a net CV basis in the near future which will slightly increase emission factors from natural gas and LPG.

The average car mileage figure is based upon the official average of emissions for the weighted average of cars sold in the UK since 1998, uplifted by 15% as actual consumption is almost always higher than that obtained under standard test conditions. This is equivalent to an average UK family car returning 31.5mpg. We have (from 2013 onwards) added additional types, sizes and fuels to enable a better estimate of emissions. If your car fleet returns better figures on average, (or you drive a smaller car achieving (say) 40mpg, or regularly share a car) then you could adjust the mileage accordingly to estimate CO2 emissions. In choosing a figure, it's worth bearing in mind that official published fuel consumption figures are calculated under ideal conditions (a warmed up engine, no sharp braking or accelerating) and are typically 15% better than achieved by most drivers in real life with a larger difference for newer more fuel efficient cars. Petrol and diesel emissions are based on UK retail blends, which typically include a small proportion of biofuels. The average diesel car has only slightly lower emissions due to it typically being significantly larger.

Aeroplane emissions are very hard to estimate. The figure above is based upon short-haul (European) flights in economy class - add up to 50% for business class travel with lower seat densities. The 2013 figures now include an estimate of radiative forcing from other aircraft emissions in the upper atmosphere, such as ozone created from NOx or condensation trails, and not just the CO2 emitted on the journey.

Rail and local bus emissions vary greatly depending on time of day (how busy the bus or train is), and location - lightly used rural buses inevitably report higher emissions than ones in central London. We have used a network rail average, though commuter trains may have lower emissions. From 2013 we have added Eurostar as a lower-carbon alternative to flying, though our kWh estimate is a bit flaky. One reason its emissions are low is that it is quite largely powered by French (nuclear) electricity. Coaches (long distance bus) are generally calculated to have emissions even lower than rail, but are included with trains.

If you are still uncertain about your footprint, or would like to get a more accurate estimate, including advice on how to manage your footprint, then we can also offer more comprehensive help and support on a paid-for basis, as described on our Carbon Footprinting Services page.

 
       
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