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Carbon Calculator

The topic of sustainability is hugely important at James Latham and we go to great lengths to ensure that the products we sell are ethically produced, sourced and distributed, in accordance with all relevant environmental guidelines.

However this is only part of the battle when it comes to winning the fight against climate change.

In the context of global warming and climate change, ‘carbon’ is shorthand for ‘carbon dioxide’ or CO2. Carbon is a significant contributor to Greenhouse Gas (GHG) – trapping heat inside our atmosphere and raising the overall temperature of the planet - often referred to as global warming. Trees and plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and emit oxygen for us to breathe via a process called photosynthesis.

The topic of carbon is high on the agenda within the construction sector, with much comment being made about the benefits of using timber products in substitution for concrete or steel. In simple terms, ethically harvested timber produces no carbon dioxide during its growth (manufacture) and actually locks in carbon from the atmosphere during it’s time on the planet (both during its time as a tree, and as a construction material). In contrast, the production of one tonne of steel creates 1.85 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide*, with one tonne of cement creating 0.6 tonnes** What’s more, as well as this adding CO2 to the atmosphere during production, they do not store any in use.

With this in mind, we have worked with the BioComposites Centre at the University of Bangor to produce a calculator which takes data from our range of products and then produces a total carbon figure for any order placed. The calculator not only reports the Biogenic Carbon of the product (the CO2 that has been removed from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and stored within the product’s structure) but also the overall carbon footprint, including manufacture of the product (including upstream processes such as forestry, sawmilling etc.), delivery of the product to a Latham's warehouse (transportation), and storage at our depots. The carbon footprint totals are therefore presented on a 'cradle-to-warehouse gate' basis and capture GHG emissions up to the point that goods leave Latham's premises for delivery to the customer.

The calculator works on openly published information, but also uses data provided by manufacturers when independently verified EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) are available. In addition to the actual carbon score, the calculator also provides a rating of C1- C4 on the confidence of accuracy of this data, dependent upon the source (a C1 for independently verified manufacturer’s date, to a C4 for publicly published but unverified data). This confidence of accuracy sets this tool apart from others which base their calculations upon generic data.

The calculator is intended to give guidance on carbon footprints of products sold by James Latham and to highlight the benefits of using timber based products in construction. It is as accurate as possible, given the data available. It should not, however be used as a tool to calculate carbon performance of products for specifications or bids.

*https://www.worldsteel.org/en/dam/jcr:7ec64bc1-c51c-439b-84b8-94496686b8c6/Position_paper_climate_2020_vfinal.pdf

** https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/co2-emission-from-cement-industry-whats-best-estimate-claude-lorea/

For a more detailed explanation of how the calculator works, and how confidence scores are measured, please download the document below:

Carbon Calculator

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