dynCO2: Dynamic Carbon Footprinter

A dynamic LCA software tool used to calculate temporal carbon footprinting

The dynamic carbon footprinter, DYNCO2, is a dynamic LCA software tool used to calculate temporal carbon footprinting. With the help of a simple Excel Spreadsheet, you can calculate the impact of your life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over a time period. This new dynamic approach can allow taking into account the temporal distribution of the emissions by using a dynamic inventory.

Global warming impact assessment results are very sensitive to the choice of a time horizon. Usually, in LCA as in other current carbon accounting or footprinting methods, the time horizon is chosen before the calculation is completed. Dynamic LCA provides the evolution of the global warming impact over time, which allows decision makers to test the results of different scenarios where time is prevalent, such as temporary carbon storage, gradual carbon sequestration in biomass and delaying GHG emissions. DYNCO2 can help answer questions such as: 
Is planting trees the way to go to mitigate GHG emissions caused by air travel? 
What is the carbon footprint of a building that has a 75-year lifetime?

In collaboration with

Hydro-Québec
Arcelor Mittal
Cascades
Bell
Desjardins
EDF Energy
Engie
Éco-Entreprises Québec
Johnson & Johnson
Rio Tinto Alcan
Recyc-Québec
RONA
SAQ
Total
Veolia
GDF Suez

The dynamic LCA approach is the next generation of carbon footprinting

PUBLICATIONS

The scientific bases of the dynamic LCA method used by DYNCO2 have been published in Environmental Science & Technology in 2010. The article is available using the following link: 

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es9030003.

Two other papers published in Climatic Change and Journal of Industrial Ecology present different applications of this approach. They can be found using the following links:

 http://www.springerlink.com/content/b3251u56v728m870/?MUD=MP

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-9290.2012.00503.x/abstract.

FAQ

Click on the questions below to see the answer

DYNCO2 is a tool used to calculate the carbon footprint of products or projects using life cycle assessment (LCA), while considering the moment when greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occur. This tool proposes a method that consistently integrates different temporal aspects into carbon footprinting, such as temporary carbon storage in long-lived products or GHG emissions mitigation projects using carbon sequestration in forests, etc.

DYNCO2 can be used for any product, service, process or project. The bases of the study (scope and boundaries) are set using the life cycle assessment methodology as described in the ISO 14040 standard.

The cumulative impact results provided by DYNCO2 can be very sensitive to the choice of a time horizon. By providing results that are detailed over time, DYNCO2 enables the user to analyze the consequences of this choice. The choice of a time horizon is a value-laden decision, since it leads to not considering the radiative forcing occurring beyond. Although a 100-year horizon is often used since it is the value adopted by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, another value can be chosen according to the objectives of the study. One can choose a longer time horizon in order to avoid postponing impacts on future generations in a sustainable development point of view; or choose a shorter time horizon in order to favour short-term actions that rapidly decrease global warming, counting on technology improvements and knowledge to mitigate longer-term impacts.

The following paper published in Nature Climate Change discusses different implications regarding the choice of a time horizon for this type of analysis. http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n1/full/nclimate1335.html.

Related projects

CAFE3

Canadian Analytical Framework for the Environmental Evaluation of Electricity

WULCA

A group project on the assessment of use and depletion of water resources within LCA

MariLCA

Integrating potential environmental impacts of marine litter into LCA

Carbon Footprint Quebec

To determine the feasibility of large scale carbon footprint labeling in Québec and guide subsequent actions

Open IO Canada

Open source Input-Output LCA model and tool to estimate life cycle impacts of products and services