Estimated emissions for construction equipment

CLF Community and particularly the GC brain trust,

I’m wondering if there’s a good LCA tool out there for estimating lifetime emissions of construction equipment or at least the information needed to estimate these emissions. There’s a tool existing out of the UK and some research studying the primary sources of lifetime emissions from construction equipment (biggest contributor is fuel usage, not surprisingly) (linked below).

The UK tool (I assume location wouldn’t significantly impact results?) requires estimates of usage (work days for duration of project * hrs/day), fuel consumption (l/hr) and energy use for electric alternatives (recognizing both of these may vary with location, climate, and work), anticipated lifetime, oil usage, %-biofuel, and end of life recycle rate.

Would be great to have easier access to this kind of information. Does anyone know of ongoing efforts to this end?

@jbuckmaster @mark.chen @sandrarhee @lafountloud @ekirkpat @Kinley @laura.soma @StephGowing

In one last small digression, I was driving around Santa Monica over the weekend and was excited to see these electric construction vehicles!!


Hi Luke -

On one project we’re tracking the fuel usage and engine tier for on site equipment. To my knowledge, there isn’t a full LCA for equipment, however, I can reach out to some earthwork contractors and rental companies to see if they track in house.

thanks, @laura.soma! Would be great to have some empirical data. Here are some resources I’ve been able to dig up. Will continue to research…
Front loader fuel burn rate -
Forklift fuel consumption - Forklift Fuel Consumption & Efficiency | Toyota Forklifts

Nice equipment! I’m curious why you need lifetime emissions rather than what’s burned at the site?

Is this to make life easier for the contractor so they can avoid the extra work? Or is it to provide standardized data?

Fuel usage is the biggest contributor (still need estimated consumption rates). I think this would be an alright starting point–similar to how we often just use A1-A3 emissions for embodied carbon calcs–but this tool also estimated embodied carbon of the equipment.

I’m hoping having the full picture would give us better ground to answer questions about payback period of electric alternatives and understand other influences like grid factor or electric vehicle embodied carbon, for example.

Here’s an example output:

and a summary chart from the paper posted above:

Here are more fuel usage estimates from “Union Pacific Railroad Application for Development Project Approval

Reading this thread inspired a question for me:

Would you attribute a proportion of a piece of construction equipment’s whole-life carbon total (A-C), or just the fuel it consumes (B6) to your construction project’s A4 emissions? – assuming the equipment is used for the construction process.

The ERA equipment calculator above proportions the lifetime emissions based on how much you’re expecting to use it (i.e. if construction is 2yrs and the lifespan is 10yrs, 20% of embodied emissions attributed). This approach makes sense to me as part of the project’s A5 emissions! The tool also includes A4 emissions for transporting the equipment to site.

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