References for transportation impact

Transportation Impacts in LCA

When it comes to transportation impacts, they’re assigned to different modules based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) stage. Transportation impacts are reported in the following modules:

  • A2 – A component of product stage impacts (A1-A3) embedded in the AusLCI dataset, this module covers transport of raw materials to production or processing facilities
  • A4 – Transport of materials and products to the construction site
  • B2B3 – Transport related to repair and maintenance is included in B2B3
  • B4 – Transport of replaced items is included in B4
  • B5 – Transport related to refurbishment is included in B5
  • C2 – Transport to landfill and/or until end-of-life status is reached.

eTool Factors

eTool incorporates various factors that provide a comprehensive approach in the LCA. These factors, set by default but also adjustable by users when defaults are not suitable (except for Transport mass factor), affects the life cycle materials quantities and subsequent calculations:

  • Lost or Damaged in Transport (LDT): Requirement of EN15978 that materials lost in transport are accounted for
  • Construction Waste Factor (CWF): The percent of material that is wasted (e.g. offcuts, cut-outs, over-order, construction losses, etc.) relative to the installed mass
  • Transport Mass Factor (TMF): The transported mass of the product including packaging / containment etc in comparison to the mass of the installed quantity (this parameter is fixed for each material)
  • Material Life: Which is used to automatically calculate the subsequent replacements over the asset’s lifespan
  • Maintenance or Repair Interval & Maintenance Quantity: Which is used to automatically calculate the maintenance and repair quantities required over the assets lifespan
  • Recycling Rate: Recycled materials can have different end of life transport distances set in eTool.

For instance, the Transport Mass Factor (TMF) influences the transported mass and subsequent transport impacts (Module A4). To illustrate, if you have 1000 kg of a material and the TMF is 1.02, the software calculates a total of 1020 kg of transported material, accounting for both the material itself and any packaging or means used for its transportation.

Stating that the transported mass equation will be formulated as follows:

Transported Mass = Material Quantity x (1 + CWF + LDT + TMF)

Note that return trips for transport impacts are not included in eTool in order to align with EN 15978 standards:
“The boundary for module A4 shall include:
– Transport of materials and products from the factory gate to the building site, including any transport, intermediate storage and distribution;”

Most interpretations are that return journeys for material transport are not within the boundary for materials. They are however, for equipment: “transport of construction equipment (cranes, scaffolding, etc.) to and from the site;”

Example

This information is available at the elemental level. In the image below, you’ll find an example template with assumptions for a carpet (Image 1), and another for steel to provide an illustration of a material with a recycling rate at the end-of-life stage (Image 2).

Image 1: Element level, Carpet template

 

Image 2: Element level, Steel template

 

 Default transport modes and distances

Users can also customise transport modes and distances, but defaults are applicable for each region when products are initially added to templates or designs.  Tables 1 to 7 provide a summary of transport modes and distances defaults for each major product group in eTool. The transport modes are the same across all regions with the exception of the UK which aligns with the RICS Whole of Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Form professional statement 1st edition 2012. The RICS guidance is also used to inform transport distances for the UK.

For the new RICS WLCA 2nd Edition standard published in September 2023 and effective from 1 July 2024. We’ve created a new dataset based on the 2023 UK government conversion factors which we plan to be updating every 5 years. The ‘United Kingdom RICS aligned LCI‘ dataset will have the RICS recommended emissions factors for both transport and end-of-life impacts. Despite likely deviating from EN 15978, the WLCA PS specifies that delivery vehicle return journeys are to be included in the impact calculation for module A4. This can be added manually by including the ‘Include Return For Material Transport’ option in the Details tab at the design level, more details can be found in this section of the Modelling Guidance for RICS WLCA – PS (2nd Edition) support post.

For details on eTool transport methodology please refer to this section of the eTool Default LCI Regionalisation Methodology article.

Table 1: Australasian Data – Default Transport Distances and Modes

Australasia
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete     Rigid truck     30
Concrete Specialised     Rigid truck     40
Reinforced Concrete   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   90 30
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   90 40
Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Rigid truck 11000 150 15
Specialist Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Light Commercial 17000 150 15
Steel Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 150 15
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   400 15
Timber (Engineered) Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 150 15
Quaried Goods   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   40 15
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   150 20

 

Table 2: New Zealand Data – Default Transport Distances and Modes

New Zealand
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete     Rigid truck     20
Concrete Specialised     Rigid truck     30
Reinforced Concrete   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   20 20
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   20 30
Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Rigid truck 10000 30 10
Specialist Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Light Commercial 16000 30 10
Steel Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 30 10
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   70 10
Timber (Engineered) Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 30 10
Quaried Goods   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   10 10
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   30 15

 

Table 3: North America Data – Default Transport Distances and Modes

North America
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete     Rigid truck     30
Concrete Specialised     Rigid truck     40
Reinforced Concrete   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   90 30
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   90 40
Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Rigid truck 5000 150 15
Specialist Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Light Commercial 12000 150 15
Steel Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 150 15
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   400 15
Timber (Engineered) Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 150 15
Quaried Goods   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   40 15
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   150 20

 

Table 4: Europe Data – Default Transport Distances and Modes

Europe
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete     Rigid truck     30
Concrete Specialised     Rigid truck     35
Reinforced Concrete   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   70 30
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   70 35
Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Rigid truck 7000 110 15
Specialist Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Light Commercial 17000 110 15
Steel Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 110 15
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   310 15
Timber (Engineered) Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 110 15
Quaried Goods   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   30 15
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   110 20

 

Table 5: Global Data – Default Transport Distances and Modes

Global
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete     Rigid truck 50   25
Concrete Specialised     Rigid truck 75   35
Reinforced Concrete   Articulated Truck Rigid truck 90 60 25
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Articulated Truck Rigid truck 90 60 32
Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Rigid truck 11000 100 15
Specialist Imported Products Sea Articulated Truck Light Commercial 12000 100 15
Steel Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 100 15
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   260 15
Timber (Engineered) Rail Articulated Truck Rigid truck 500 100 15
Quaried Goods   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   30 15
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Articulated Truck Rigid truck   100 20

 

Table 6: United Kingdom Data RICS 1st edition 2012– Default Transport Distances and Modes

North America
Transport scenario
Transport Mode Transport Distance
Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3 Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
Concrete   Rigid truck     50  
Concrete Specialised   Rigid truck     50  
Reinforced Concrete   Rigid truck     50  
Reinforced Concrete Specialised   Rigid truck     50  
Imported Products   Rigid truck     1500  
Specialist Imported Products Sea Light Commercial   10000 200  
Steel   Rigid truck     300  
Timber (Rough Sawn)   Rigid truck     300  
Timber (Engineered)   Rigid truck     1500  
Quaried Goods   Rigid truck     50  
Value Added Construction Products (eg Plasterboard)   Rigid truck     300  

 

Table 7: United Kingdom Data RICS 2nd edition 2023 – Default Transport Distances 

United kingdom
  Transport scenario (both road and sea to be used) km by road km by sea
  Locally manufactured (ready-mixed concrete) 20  
  Locally manufactured (general), e.g. aggregate, earth, asphalt 50  
  Regionally manufactured, e.g. plasterboard, blockwork, insulation, carpet, glass 80  
  Nationally manufactured, e.g. structural timber, structural steelwork, reinforcement, precast concrete 120  
  European manufactured, e.g. cross-laminated timber (CLT), facade modules 1,500 100
  Globally manufactured, e.g. specialist stone cladding 500 10,000

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