REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT IN AN ACCOMMODATION BUSINESS. CASE: LOG CABIN OF MESSILÄ MAAILMA OY →
REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT IN AN ACCOMMODATION BUSINESS. CASE: LOG CABIN OF MESSILÄ MAAILMA OY →
REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT IN AN ACCOMMODATION BUSINESS. CASE: LOG CABIN OF MESSILÄ MAAILMA OY Summary of the Master's thesis of Perttu Ottelin This thesis has been written in the ICER project, which receives funding from the INTERREG IVC programme.
1. Background to the thesis This Master's thesis was commissioned by the Environmental Services of the Lahti Region (Lahden seudun ympäristöpalvelut) as part of the project Innovative Concept of Eco-accommodation approach in rural Regions: Public support policies for eco-investors (ICER). The objective of the thesis was to identify suitable actions for accommodation businesses to reduce their carbon footprint during their lifecycle. In addition, possibilities for public funding for suggested actions were examined. The Case section of the thesis calculates the lifecycle carbon footprint of a log cabin of Messilä Maailma Oy in Hollola. The usage time for the log cabin was defined as 50 years. Dismantling of the log cabin was excluded from the calculation. The effects of certain suggested actions on the carbon footprint were subsequently reviewed computationally. The calculations were carried out using the GaBi and Excel software. The inventory data for calculations was collected from Messilä Maailma Oy, various companies and literature. The calculations also utilised existing database models.
One of the seven focal points of the tourism strategy for the Päijät-Häme Region 2010–2015 was that the businesses providing tourism services in the region adopt socially responsible policies. (Lahden seudun kehittämisyhtiö Oy - LAKES, 2009) According to the tourism database of Statistics Finland, The Päijät-Häme region received in total 254,721 tourists in 2009, of whom 221,571 from Finland and 33,150 from abroad. (Statistics Finland, 2011) The region has 315 rental cabins in total. (Liikonen, 2010) 2. Carbon footprint of an accommodation building The carbon footprint of an accommodation building consists of building work, use, and dismantling. The difference from regular residential buildings is that the degree of utilisation of the building is lower. Emissions during the building phase of an accommodation building are introduced, in particular, through the acquisition of raw materials, manufacturing of building materials and the actual building work as well as transport, waste management and energy consumption related to all of the above components. The majority of the carbon footprint of an accommodation building is created during its use. Energy and water consumption as well as waste disposal of the building play a particularly significant part. The way in which the consumed energy is produced has a substantial impact on the carbon footprint, in other words the proportion of renewable and non-renewable energy sources used. Naturally, the carbon footprint during use is also affected by the age and rate of utilisation, external conditions and condition of the building, such as the degree of insulation and air leakage.
Sorting out materials when dismantling a construction is least straining for the environment. Building materials in good condition can be saved and directed for recycling, for example through companies specialising in the recycling of building components. Non-recyclable dismantling waste can be forwarded to construction waste treatment plants to be utilised mostly as energy waste. (Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, 2010) 3. Suggested actions for reducing carbon footprint The suggested actions to reduce the carbon footprint of accommodation businesses are very similar to those given for any residential building. The greatest practical challenge for implementing these actions is the occupant turnover rate, whereby variations in the occupants' environmental awareness and behaviour influence the results obtained.
3.1 Supporting renewable energy production The means by which the energy used in accommodation buildings is produced has a significant impact on the size of the carbon footprint produced by occupancy. The energy produced from fossil fuels creates far more CO2 emissions than energy produced using biofuels, for example. (Saari & al. 2010) If accommodation businesses buy their electricity from an external supplier, they can opt for the so-called green electricity. 3.2 Heating This section presents suggestions to reduce the carbon footprint caused by heating an accommodation building. Reduction of the carbon footprint achieved by changing the heating system depends on the current heating system and its usage habits as well as the condition of the building. 3.2.1 Air source heat pumps Air source heat pumps utilise free energy from the air. The most common types of air source heat pumps marketed in Finland are air-air source heat pumps, air-water source heat pumps and exhaust air heat pumps. Air-air source heat pumps are normally used as additional heat sources; air-water source heat pumps and exhaust air heat pumps can also be used as the main heat source. (Motiva Oy, 2008) Air-air source heat pumps are used for heating room air and cannot heat domestic water. In the summer, air-air source heat pumps can also be used for air-conditioning. Air-water source heat pumps can cover the heating requirements of an entire building. It transfers external heat to the heat
distribution system operated with circulating water, and it can also heat domestic water. An exhaust air heat pump can also cover the heating requirements of an entire building. It uses heat from the warm exhaust air of the building and transfers it to a heat distribution system operated with circulating water, and it can also heat domestic water. (Motiva Oy, 2008) 3.2.2 Ground source heat The coefficient of performance of a ground source heat pump is normally 3, where circa 2/3 of the heat generated by a ground source heat pump is renewable energy and circa 1/3 generated by electricity. (Motiva Oy, 2011). Ground source heat pumps can be sized to operate on either full or partial efficiency. In the coldest weather conditions, a heat pump sized to partial efficiency will cover circa 60–85% of the heat efficiency needed, and the remaining heat will be produced with electrical resistors. Broadly speaking, the acquisition price of a ground source heat pump is fairly high, but the heat energy produced is cheap. Ground source heat pumps can also be used for cooling. (Motiva Oy, 2008) 3.2.3 Wood pellet and wood Wood fuels are Finnish bioenergy, and their use does not increase the computational carbon footprint produced during usage, since wood has absorbed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during growth. Hearths and wood pellet fireplaces are appropriate as additional heating systems in a building. Wood can also be used as the main heat source, in which case wood pellets, for example, can be used as fuel in central heating boilers. Wood boilers can take woodchips, sticks and blocks of wood as fuel. (Motiva Oy, 2009) 3.2.4 Improving the energy efficiency of a building Heat loss of a building can be reduced, for example, by new windows and shell insulation. Exchanging windows for more energy-efficient ones and additional wall insulation are justifiable if the building is also undergoing other renovation work. Window heat insulation can also be improved with window blinds. Window blinds are also an economical way to reduce heat build-up inside the building during summer. (Hemmilä, 2000) 3.3 Water consumption The carbon footprint of water consumption is affected by raw water acquisition and treatment, pumping and water heating as well as sewage water treatment. In particular, the use of hot water impacts the carbon footprint. On average, 30% of the annual heating energy consumption in a Finnish residential building is spent on water heating. (Motiva Oy, 2011)
The simplest way to reduce the carbon footprint produced by water consumption is to reduce the consumption. Water consumption can also be reduced by changing the taps, showers and toilets to more water-efficient models. Adjusting the water flow of water fixtures and reducing the flow pressure in the domestic water network facilitate reasonable water usage. (Motiva Oy, 2011) 3.4 Domestic electricity consumption Energy saving is a cost-effective way to reduce the carbon footprint of a company. Energy saving can be achieved by both improving the energy efficiency of appliances and their sensible use. The consumption of the so- called domestic electricity in an accommodation business consists of appliances using electricity, such as lighting, electronics and refrigeration. Electricity consumption can also be reduced by choosing energy-efficient appliances. An accommodation business can reduce its energy consumption with different technical solutions. Automated solutions, such as movement detectors, dimmer switches and timers, can be utilised in lighting. Incandescent light bulbs can also be replaced with more energy-efficient bulbs. It is worthwhile to select refrigeration and electrical appliances that use little energy. (Motiva Oy, 2011) 3.5 Heating and electricity consumption This section reviews energy production solutions that are suitable for both heat and electricity production. They include, for example, solar thermal energy and electricity systems as well as wind farms.
Solar energy can be utilised in both heat and electricity production. The application potential of thermal solar energy is significantly influenced by the current heating system. Currently the most common way to use solar energy in Finland is heating domestic water, but the system is also used for room heating. (Motiva Oy, 2011) Solar electricity can be produced with solar panels that produce a current that is directly proportionate with the power of sunlight. An accommodation business can also construct a small windfarm to supply additional energy. A small windfarm in a windy location is an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly energy production choice. A small windfarm can produce heat energy for the domestic heating and hot water tank of a building. (Finnish Wind Power Association, 2011) 3.6 Cooling
Ventilators, blowers and air-conditioning appliances are effective equipment for cooling accommodation premises but increase energy consumption and living costs. From an energy-saving viewpoint, it is sensible to reduce internal heat load, such as large electrical appliances, to use curtains or blinds to cover windows and to use the cool ambient temperature in ventilation during dawn and dusk. Mechanical cooling should only be used after these steps. (Motiva Oy, 2011) 3.7 Waste The carbon footprint produced through waste can be reduced by reusing waste, recycling, sorting and recycling. When purchasing goods and materials, it is sensible to pay attention to the load produced in the manufacturing stage as well as after use. Accommodation businesses can pursue this by, for example, reducing disposable packaging and paying attention to packaging materials and amounts. The effectiveness of refuse recycling is affected by the municipal waste service and activities of both the holiday-makers and staff. The size of the carbon footprint produced by waste is affected by, in particular, regional refuse management and the subsequent emissions. The carbon footprint is affected by, among other things, how much mixed waste is utilised by incineration and how much ends up in landfill sites. Furthermore, the amount of landfill site gases collected and reused as energy has an impact. Carbon footprint calculations can also account for the so-called averted emissions, in other words how much of the use of fossil fuels can be replaced by producing energy through incinerating mixed and energy waste or biogas produced from biowaste. Similarly, carbon footprint calculations for paper, cardboard and recycled cardboard can account for the fact that their collection reduces the use of virgin raw materials.
3.8 Transport In terms of transport, this section considers the transport of produced waste and laundry. The carbon footprint produced by the waste transport of businesses offering accommodation in the Päijät-Häme region mainly depends on the distances between the businesses, small waste collection plants, the Kujala waste centre and other treatment plants, numbers of collections and transported masses. These are subsequently affected by the proportions and amounts of actual waste distributions. (Päijät-Hämeen jätehuolto Oy, 2011) Accommodation businesses can reduce the carbon footprint produced by waste transport with similar means as the carbon footprint produced by waste distribution, that is by preventing waste accumulation. In addition, each property can compost its own biowaste individually. The carbon footprint produced by the transport of laundry is also affected by the distance between the laundry facility and the accommodation business as well as the numbers of
collections made. This can be counteracted by minimising the amount of laundry and selecting a laundry facility nearby or doing the laundry in situ. 3.9 Other actions There are also other ways in which accommodation businesses can promote activities that support sustainable tourism. It is particularly important to share experiences and knowledge between companies and other officials regarding different procedures to reduce the carbon footprint. An accommodation business may also require that their co-operation partners follow environmentally friendly practices and prefer partners that observe environmental issues in their operations. For example, regional waste services can be improved in partnership with local operators and hence, for example, more recycling points can be created.
4. Carbon footprint of the lifecycle of a log cabin – Case Log cabin of Messilä Maailma Oy The calculation method for the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of a log cabin was based on lifecycle assessment. Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, is a tool that assesses the environmental impact of a product or service during its entire lifecycle. Life Cycle Assessment can be used to study the significance of the different stages in terms of environmental load and thus identify components of accommodation business that can be focused on to reduce environmental load effectively. In addition, the methods influencing the assessment of impact and results analyses are chosen. The most common impact categories include: Climate change (=carbon footprint) Ozone depletion in the stratosphere Ozone depletion in the troposphere Acidification Hypertrophication Ecotoxicity Depletion of non-renewable natural resources (e.g. fossil fuels, minerals) Depletion of renewable natural resources (e.g. wood, fish supply) How much the results depend on the set delimitations, the hypothesis, calculation methods and source data used must be taken into account when drawing conclusions. (SFS-EN ISO14040, 2006) 4.1 Carbon footprint The carbon footprint illustrates the greenhouse gas emissions produced by a system. The present reliable carbon footprint calculations are based on the Life Cycle Assessment standards and guidelines, such as the PAS 2050 and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Instead of all emissions, the calculations only
consider released greenhouse gases, the most important of which are fossil carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). In the calculations, methane and nitrous oxide are converted into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2 ekv.). 5.3 Inventory analysis The target of the calculation is a 61m2 log cabin of the Messilä Maailma Oy holiday centre in Hollola, Finland. The log cabin was built in 1989. The calculations determining the carbon footprint produced by the construction work took into consideration the log cabin frame only, and all fixtures and fittings had been excluded from the analysis. The consumption data for one year (electricity, water, laundry and waste) used in the calculations were obtained from Messilä Maailma Oy. Messilä uses direct electric heating. The expected distribution of electricity consumption was: heating 50%, domestic electricity 30% and hot water 20%. Heating of service water is included in emissions produced by water use.
Greenhouse emissions produced by water consumption were divided into emissions from the supply of water, produced sewage water, and water heating. The carbon footprint produced by waste management included mixed waste, energy waste and biowaste. The proportion of mixed waste ending up in landfill sites in the Päijät-Häme region is 17–20% annually, the rest being incinerated. (Honkanen, 2011) Energy obtained from the incineration of mixed waste has been used to compensate the average electricity and heat production in Finland. (Dahlbo et al. 2008) Energy waste is utilised at the CHP power plant, where it is used to replace natural gas as fuel. In this way, it is possible to avoid emissions caused by burning natural gas. Biowaste is composted at a composting facility.
The transport module of the GaBi was used for all waste transport. The module contains the incineration emissions released during use. The manufacturing, recycling and fuel supply chain of the lorry have not been included in the module. (PE International 2011) The calculations for emissions of the laundry facility used the calculation of Lindström Oy for the total carbon dioxide emission per one kilo of handled textiles in 2010, which includes process energy, heating of the premises, commuting and use of electricity. (Lindström Oy, 2010), (Mäntylä, 2011). Results of a research by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland were used as the basis for the carbon footprint of the construction phase of the log cabin. The research calculated carbon footprints for different types of log cabins. The calculations included the acquisition of raw materials for the house construction factories and transport to the house construction factory, energy
production for both purchased and self-supplied energy and the internal processes of the house construction factories. The manufacture and transport of logs, saw material and wood insulation were also included in the calculations. Diesel used by the cranes used in the installation phase was also taken into consideration. (Behm & Häkkinen, 2010) Greenhouse emissions of the construction of the water and sewage systems for the log cabin were generated by using the results of a research report by Helsinki University of Technology TKK. In terms of water and sewage systems, the research included building materials and supplies, losses incurred during construction, ancillary agents, packaging waste, environmental emissions produced by the machinery and equipment used in construction and the transport of building materials to the site. (Kokkonen & Saari, 1999) A certain amount of emissions can be deducted from the carbon footprint covering the entire lifecycle, as stipulated in the PAS 2050 guidelines. According to the guidelines, the amount of carbon tied up in the product can be included in the final results of the calculation, if more than 50% of the biogenic carbon in the product is excluded from the atmosphere for one year or longer, starting from the time of the product manufacture. 6. Results The carbon footprint of the construction of the object under review and during 50 years of use, calculated with the global warming potential, is 296,523.03 kg CO2 and, including the PAS 2050 compensation, 275,391.03 kg CO2. Of this amount, the proportion of construction work is 4,056 kg CO2, which is the equivalent of one percent of the total carbon footprint. Figure 8 shows the distribution of emissions per emission source.
69 % 23 % 0 % 7 % 1 % Sähkö (huoneiden lämmitysja kotitaloussähkö) vesi (sis. Veden lämmityksen) Jätteet Pyykit Kuljetukset
Figure 8. Distribution of emissions of the log cabin per emission source. The electricity includes room heating and domestic electricity. The heating of water is included in section Water. Electricity (heating and domestic electricity) Water (incl. water heating) Waste Laundry Transport The largest carbon footprint, 69%, was produced by electricity consumption of the rooms and domestic electricity. The expected distribution of electricity consumption in the calculation was: heating 50%, domestic electricity 30% and hot water 20%. The smallest carbon footprint was produced by transport, of which the transport of laundry constituted 58%. The largest carbon footprint within waste management was produced by mixed waste. The emissions of mixed waste are influenced by, in particular, how much of the proportion is directed to incineration and how much is placed in landfill sites. Within water consumption, the largest amount of greenhouse emissions was produced by hot water consumption.
7. Effects of suggested actions on the carbon footprint of the Messilä log cabin This section studies the effects of some actions presented in the thesis on the carbon footprint of the log cabin in the calculation. The actions were selected so that they target especially the major emission sources, such as electricity and water consumption. The studied actions were: • Green electricity (99% hydropower and 1% wind) • Ground source heat pump (100% of room heating and hot water electricity) • Air source heat pump (-30% of room heating electricity) • Solar thermal energy (hot domestic water) • Electricity use -10% • Water use -15% • Mixed waste -30% • Scenario 1 Figure 2 presents the effects of the suggested improvements on the total emissions during the lifecycle of the log cabin. In addition, the figure presents Scenario 1, which has been combined to include, from the actions presented in this section, the implementation of green electricity, reduction of electricity consumption by 10%, reduction of mixed waste by 30% and reduction of water consumption by 15%. The combination in Scenario 1 achieved a reduction of 253,741.87 kg CO2 ekv. to greenhouse emissions, hence the subsequent total of greenhouse emissions would be only 6% of the current emissions.
Figure 2. Effects of different suggested actions on greenhouse emissions of the log cabin during its lifecycle. Specifications from left to right: current situation, green electricity, ground source heat pump, air source heat pump, solar thermal energy, electricity use -10%, water use -15%, mixed waste -30%, scenario 1 Building Transports Laundry Waste Water acquisition and sewage Water heating Domestic electricity Room heating 8. Conclusions and recommendations Based on the thesis, it can be concluded that the effects of the suggested actions on the carbon footprint during usage depend on the current state of the accommodation business and, in particular, the heating system in use. Actions that do not require technical investments can be primarily implemented irrespective of the current state of the accommodation business. Based on the carbon footprint calculation carried out for the log cabin of Messilä Maailma Oy, it can be concluded that, during a lifecycle of 50 years, the majority, or 99%, of greenhouse gas emissions are produced during use, and the construction phase produced 1% of emissions. Therefore, actions during use have an impact on the reduction of the carbon footprint during the lifecycle. However, it must be observed that solutions implemented during the -50000 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000 300000 350000 kg CO2-ekv. Rakentaminen Kuljetukset Pyykit Jätteet Veden hankinta ja jätevesi Veden lämmitys Kotitaloussähkö Huoneiden lämmitys
construction phase, for example the choice of materials and heating system, will have a significant effect on the carbon footprint during use. The greatest reduction of emissions within the addressed actions is achieved by exchanging purchase electricity to energy produced with renewable energy forms or so-called green energy. If financial savings are sought, the entrepreneur must also reduce electricity consumption. The largest emission source after electricity consumption was water usage, the reduction of which will decrease both the carbon footprint and the water bill. The use of hot water, in particular, influences the carbon footprint in water consumption. The carbon footprint produced by transport can be reduced by decreasing the amount of waste. In terms of waste, an individual entrepreneur will find it difficult to influence transport distances, but, as for laundry for example, it is possible to examine the possibility of buying laundry services closer by. Reducing transport will not significantly decrease the total carbon footprint. The results indicate that log material used in construction produces little greenhouse emissions and electricity that has been produced with non- renewable energy sources, on the other hand, produces large amounts of greenhouse emissions during use. Based on the results, it can be concluded that an accommodation business that utilises its own electric heating and uses purchased electricity partly produced with non-renewable energy sources can relatively easily and economically make significant reductions to its carbon footprint. Exchange to green electricity, however, does not necessarily generate great financial savings to the company. Reducing consumption instead will decrease both the carbon footprint and bring financial savings to the company.
An accommodation business will also find it beneficial in advertising to make use of certain improvements and implemented practices to reduce the carbon footprint. When talking about carbon footprint, it is good to remember that it only relates to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. When evaluating environmental friendliness, other environmental load factors must also be considered.