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Environmental Benefits Calculators

This document summarizes the following calculators:

Summary of Calculators

  • The Paper Calculator (Environmental Defense)
    • A web-based tool developed by the non-governmental organization Environmental Defense to help individuals and organizations understand their paper use. The Paper Calculator calculates energy and wood consumption and environmental releases for different types of paper in the U.S. across their full lifecycle. Also, the Paper Calculator can compare environmental benefits of using different types and quantities of paper.
    • Inputs: Enter grade of paper and how much is used (tons, pounds, or metric tons per year) to see how using less paper, increased recycled content, and making other changes can be more beneficial to the environment. An optional input is pulp content and pulp bleaching technology. If unknown, the Paper Calculator uses the national averages for these inputs.
  • Mohawk Environmental Calculator (Mohawk Fine Papers, Inc.)
    • This calculator is similar to Environmental Defense's The Paper Calculator, with the exception of an additional data element, allowing the user to input whether the paper is made with windpower. If the paper is made with windpower, the calculator can show additional environmental benefits, which include: pounds of air emissions not generated, barrels of crude oil unused, equivalent to not driving X miles in an average car, equivalent to planting X trees. Upgrades now allow seeing the savings realized by offsetting direct thermal manufacturing emissions with Verified Emission Reduction (VER) credits.
    • Inputs: Enter grade of paper and how much is used (pounds per year) to see how using less paper, increased recycled content, and making other changes can be more beneficial to the environment.
  • Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool (EPA)
    • This tool allows users to estimate life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy impacts from the purchasing and/or manufacturing of various post-consumer recycled content products. This tool can be used either as a web-based calculator or a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. ReCon is used in conjunction with WARM which was last updated August, 2008. The availability of updated information necessitated updates to the emission factors used in WARM and the ReCon tool.
    • Inputs: Amount purchased of listed material(s) (pounds), baseline recycled content (percent), alternate recycled content (percent) to view energy output and GHG output calculations. Some examples of the materials listed include: aluminum cans, steel cans, copper wire, office paper, corrugated cardboard, and glass.
  • Waste Reduction Model (WARM) (EPA)
    • This tool helps waste managers determine which waste management practices are best for their organization. WARM calculates the benefits of alternative end-of-life waste management decisions by comparing an alternate waste management scenario to a business-as-usual scenario. The tool recognizes 34 different material types and was updated most recently in August 2008. This tool is available as a web-based calculator and as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The tool calculates the Metric Tons of Carbon Equivalent (MTCE), Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2E), or Units of Energy (million BTU) for the baseline and alternate scenario. It also provides an equivalent to X passenger cars removed from the roadway, barrels of oil and gallons of gasoline.
    • Inputs: For baseline scenario, inputs include — for each material type — tons generated, recycled, landfilled, combusted, and composted. For the alternate scenario, inputs include — for each material type — tons source reduced, recycled, landfilled, combusted, and composted. The user must identify whether the landfill that receives the waste has landfill gas recovery (for either energy or flare), no landfill gas, or as default select the national average. The user must also define transport distances for each disposal type (landfill, combustion, recycling, composting) or use default values.
  • Environmental Benefits Calculator (Northeast Recycling Council, Inc.)
    • NERC's Environmental Benefits Calculator (in Microsoft Excel) generates estimates of the environmental benefits of source reduction, reuse, or recycling for a wide range of materials. This calculator is a tool for educating the public, legislators, and state and municipal employees about the impact and benefits of sustainable waste management strategies.
    • Inputs: Enter materials management data, including tonnages for source reduction, reuse, recycling, landfilling, and incineration/waste-to-energy. State-specific data are also included in the calculation based on the user's location. The user must obtain the state-specific data from an EPA website provided in the calculator.
  • Durable Goods Calculator (EPA)
    • This tool calculates the benefits of using various disposal methods for durable goods. The Durable Goods Calculator estimates GHG emissions benefits in MTCE and energy savings in MMBtu for recycling, landfilling and combustion of 14 typical durable goods (e.g., TVs, automobiles, microwaves, carpet, VCRs, PCs and monitors). It is available in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format.
    • Inputs: Quantity of each durable good, quantity weight (lbs) or tons, but a default weight value is applied if actual weight is unknown, % of each durable good that is recycled, combusted or landfilled, with the sum totaling 100. The user also inputs % of the durable goods recycled, combusted or landfilled for an alternate disposal scenario to serve as a comparison to the baseline scenario.
  • Green Cleaning Pollution Prevention Calculator (EPA)
    • This calculator quantifies the benefits of purchasing and using "green" janitorial services and products. Further, it enables users to identify which green cleaning measures will have the greatest impact in reducing their use of hazardous chemicals and in preventing pollution. The janitorial products and services included are those associated with routine interior cleaning of an office building.
    • Inputs: Estimate of building's carpeted area, estimate of hard floor area, types and annual amounts (by weight in pounds) of cleaning products currently used to clean building, current cleaning product handling and mixing practices, changes to janitorial product use and cleaning practices that have been made or could be made. Default values can be applied, which assume a building of 100,000 square feet.
  • Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) (NIST)
    • Version 4.0 of the Windows-based decision support software is aimed at designers, builders, and product manufacturers, and includes actual environmental and economic performance data for 230 building products. The calculator enables the user to measure the impact of reusing buildings materials on the environment. A product's economic performance is measured using the ASTM standard life-cycle cost method, which considers costs of initial investment, replacement, operation, maintenance and repair, and disposal. Accordingly, the results measure the environmental impacts that would have resulted from extracting and processing raw materials, making them into finished materials, and transporting them from the factory to their points of use. The results also measure the energy that would have been required to produce equal amounts of new products, based on the embodied energy contained in the reused product.
    • Inputs: Relative importance weights for environmental versus economic performance, relative importance weights for several environmental impact criteria (e.g., fossil fuel depletion, indoor air quality, water intake, criteria air pollutants, and global warming), and the real discount rate (excluding inflation) for converting future building product costs to their equivalent present value (the 2002 rate mandated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for most Federal projects is 3.9%). The final input is the category of building elements in which you want to compare products.
  • Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator (EEBC) (EPEAT System)
    • EEBC allows purchasers or other parties to calculate the specific environmental benefits from the purchase of EPEAT registered computers and monitors. The calculator estimates the environmental and economic benefits of purchasing EPEAT-registered products, in addition to improvements in equipment operation and end-of-life management practices. For end-of-life, users can calculate the benefits of reuse and recycling of computers as well as mobile telephones. The user enters the number of bronze EPEAT-registered products purchased, and the calculator tool will provide a breakdown of the resulting environmental benefits. Users may perform advanced calculations and comparisons of the environmental benefits of silver and gold EPEAT registered product by entering additional data on which optional criteria a product meets. The ability to demonstrate achievements can help justify potential price premiums for "greener" electronics and allow purchasers to communicate the environmental results of their procurement efforts.

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