Calculating (estimating?) transportation emissions

Hi all,

Wondering how people have been navigating the data collection for A4 emission, and transportation of materials to site. Our projects collect the data from the perspective of the LEED Regional Materials credit, but I expect that has limitations. I’ve been trying to categorize in my mind who would “own” or understand the actual out puts here, since the manufacture generally only report up to the gate, but subcontractors would not always buy directly from that same gate… maybe I’m getting too much in the weeds for the current discussion. Would be good to hear how others are capturing this.


The answer to this question should interest anyone in Canada whose project received federal Climate Lens funding. We are expected to track these emissions for our projects and report back. From my inquiries, some contractors track this information - not necessarily on every project, but certainly on some. And there are A&E firms that track this (I assume collaborating with the contractor). They may do this for certification purposes or because they have committed to understanding their carbon footprint.

Found this, hope it helps:

(NOTE: have not read it all the way through yet) -That said, I have been thinking the same thing - there’s a simple solution to this problem but it would entail changing “the way we’ve always done it” mentality.

I think what must be done is to convince the owner(private project) to REQUIRE gc’s/subs to procure from one source. Source would be onsite distributing products & managing inventory. They could track EVERYTHING if they have a large fleet & the technology/capacity to store inventory.

You don’t even need to cut out preferred distributors(subs go-to distributor) - all that needs to be done is take deliveries(by each subs preferred distributor) and individual trips to box stores/similar out of the installers hands.

Unfortunately, doing this would likely speed things up, ensure only approved materials were used(not to mention could be tracked if material failed) & save everyone involved a ton of $… Forgot to mention greatly reduce unnecessary carbon emissions from transportation.

It would make everyone’s life easier & less stressful… But what’s the fun in that, I mean look how well “the way it’s always been done” is working out for us…

Sorry for the rant; this is easier said than done & i do understand the factors at play; regardless of how easily they can be overcome.

EOD I think assumption is transportation is 6% of embodied emissions(carbon). Then again, depends on who you ask & future technology they’re accounting for in calculations.

Happy holidays & I hope this helps!

The IStructE has a guide for calculating carbon has a very rough estimate for calculating A4 based on mass, distance travelled and method of transport. It’s a useful high level approximation which can indicate how much the transport of material can affect the embodied carbon value. We have found that for mass timber this can be a higher proportion of total compared to steel/concrete which tend to be sourced more locally (obv depending quantities, site location etc.). Note, the values are UK specific but should be somewhat similar in N.A.