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Operational Carbon
Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago


What is Operational Carbon in Buildings?

Operational Carbon refers to the GHGs emitted by the daily energy used for powering lighting, heating, and cooling. Typically measured in “metric tons CO2e/yr.”

When in LCA of buildings is operational carbon calculated?

In the above graphic operational carbon is represented by Modules B6 - Energy use and B7 - Water use.

Why do you need to calculate the Operational carbon impact of buildings?

Calculating operational carbon emissions of a building is important for understanding the environmental impact of the building's energy consumption and activities, setting reduction targets, tracking progress, making informed decisions about energy efficiency, meeting regulatory requirements and demonstrating commitment to reducing environmental footprint.

What percent of the total building carbon footprint does operational carbon account for?

This depends on a number of project specific factors. For example -
1. Building's life span - a building which is operational for 60 years vs 20 years, the total emissions would be reflective of that.

2. A renovation project which has smaller Embodied Carbon (upfront carbon) as compared to new construction would mean a higher percentage of Operational Carbon.

3. Similar to above a building which is Embodied Carbon intensive would reflect a smaller Operational Carbon percentage.

How do you calculate the operational carbon impact of your building?

Happy Modeling!

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