Carbon Footprint Methodology – How to assess your asset environmental impact?

The Carbon Footprint Methodology

The carbon footprint of an entire site could be done using different methodology such as the French Bilan Carbone® approach or the Green House Gas Protocol approach. At TERAO we are used to work with the French methodology.

The Bilan Carbone® approach is designed for all types of organisation and is compatible with other standards, such as the ISO 14064 standard and the GHG Protocol.

The main target of Bilan Carbone is to estimate the greenhouse gases emissions, and to offer actions to reduce these emissions. Through this method we will not consider other environmental impact such as Global warming, Acidification or Ozone depletion as we do for an LCA; you can refer to our LCA-related topic article.


The greenhouse gases that could be taken into account are the ones below:

  • CO2, which lasts 100 years in the atmosphere
  • CH4, which lasts 10 years in the atmosphere
  • N2O, which lasts 100 years in the atmosphere
  • CnHnFn, which lasts from a few weeks to several centuries
  • CnF2n+n, which lasts from several centuries to several millennium
  • SF6, which lasts several millenniums.

The effect of the emission of 1kg of a greenhouse gas is different for each gas. Every gas has a Global-warming potential (GWP), that defines the impact of the gas on the climate.

The results in this methodology are expressed in kg or Ton of CO2 equivalent, which includes all the emissions from all the above greenhouse gases. The equivalent makes the results easier to understand.

How does it work?

Firstly, it is important to list the several emissions sources by themes, as defined below:



Every type of energy consumption is considered for the analysis, from the basic utilities to the complex process if there is. Then it is based on the energy mix of the country.

Flows in and out of the site

The flow of raw materials delivered onsite as well as the fleet to deliver them are considerate.


The flow of persons/workers/customers entering on site are considerate in this part.


The amount of wastes generated and put to landfill or incinerated are considerate.

Physical assets

The physical assets have embodied energy which is the energy used to produce the buildings; you can refer to our article Low Carbon-related topic.

Conversion factors

The factors that are used to convert a given unit (equipment, flow, etc) to its CO2 emission counterpart. These factors are essential to the final results, and depends a lot of the country considered, as each country as different types of energy, with different carbon content, different quality of gasoil (vehicles) and so on, which impact the final result. The most important data is the carbon content of the energy in China, as it is highly carbonated, due to the predominant use of coal.

As an example:

As an example it is possible to have the following repartition for an entire site:

In this case we notice that one of the main source of carbon emission is energy consumption. The best way to reduce is to implement sustainability solution for energy efficiency; please refer to our article Energy efficiency related topic.

Carbon Footprint and TERAO

TERAO is pushing the way to control and reduce the carbon emissions of assets through Carbon Footprint Analysis and technical solutions. If you want to learn more about French Bilan Carbone® approach or another Carbon Footprint method and better understand your environmental impact, feel free to contact us at for further information. We would be pleased to assist you.

One Comment

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