Tools and Calculators

GHG Calculation Tools for Pulp & Paper Mills

November 06, 2013

The GHG calculation tool developed by NCASI consists of two parts. 

The first part is a report (PDF) that describes the approaches for estimating greenhouse gas emissions from pulp and paper mills. Initially released in 2002, it was last updated in July 2005 to conform to the updated WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol.

The second part of the calculation tool is an Excel spreadsheet to aid in the calculations. NCASI has developed several versions of the spreadsheet, as described below.

It is intended that these industry-specific tools be used in conjunction with an accepted GHG accounting protocol such as the “Greenhouse Gas Protocol” issued by the World Resources Institute/World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WRI/WBCSD) or other accepted protocols for corporate GHG inventories. These tools reflect many of the features of well-known and widely accepted protocols. In addition, they anticipate a number of questions that pulp and paper mills must address when preparing facility-level or company-level inventories. A special effort has been made to ensure that the tools are consistent with protocols issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the WRI/WBCSD.

These tools estimate CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion based on the carbon content of the fuel (or a comparable emission factor) and the amounts burned. Carbon dioxide emissions from biomass combustion are not counted as greenhouse gas emissions, a convention common to most of the protocols examined in this review, but can be reported as “supporting information” as called for in the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol.

Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from combustion processes, both fossil fuel and biomass, are estimated using emission factors. Methods are presented for estimating the fossil-CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions, from lime kilns and calciners. Greenhouse gas emissions from mill landfills and wastewater treatment plants are estimated using methods derived from those suggested by IPCC, as are emissions from vehicles and other fossil-fuel fired equipment. In all cases, however, companies may use site-specific information where it yields more accurate estimates of GHG emissions than the tools outlined in this report.

Using these tools, indirect emissions related to imports of electricity or steam and emissions attributable to exports of electricity or steam are included in the inventory results but tracked separately from direct emissions. The emissions from combined heat and power (CHP) plants are allocated using the WRI/WBCSD “efficiency method.”

The calculation tools envision that companies will often construct inventory boundaries that include emissions from (a) all on-site “core” pulp and paper making operations, regardless of the ownership of the emission source, and (b) other company-owned sources included in widely accepted GHG inventory protocols (e.g., company-owned truck fleets). It is understood, however, that companies will select inventory boundaries suited to the objectives of the inventory.

To aid in interpreting the results of the inventory, these tools recommend that the inventory results include a list of the operations contained within the boundaries of the inventory and a list of emission factors used to estimate emissions. The format suggested for presenting the results of the inventory allows a company to separate the emissions that are “owned” by the company (direct emissions) from those that are not (indirect emissions). The company is free to select the method for determining the ownership of emissions, but the method must be explained in the inventory results. The user is directed to the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol for guidance on how to determine ownership of emissions from partly-owned or partly-controlled sources.

Excel Spreadsheet Versions

NCASI has developed multiple versions of the calculation tool spreadsheet, listed below. The first digit in the version number reflects the program for which each was prepared. Versions 1.X were written primarily for use under the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol; versions 2.X were written for the U.S. DOE 1605(b) program; and versions 3.X reflect Canadian GHG reporting requirements. The second digit in each version number is zero for the original version and is increased to reflect updates.


  • Version 1.0          released December 2002
    Prepared by NCASI for ICFPA and accepted for use under the WRI/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the original version of the Excel spreadsheet contains default approaches and emission factors applicable to an international audience. (This version of the spreadsheet was superseded by Version 1.1 and is no longer available.)
  • Version 1.1          released November 2003
    This version of the spreadsheet is essentially the same as Version 1.0, except that a user-friendly data entry interface was added. NCASI prepared a User Manual for this version of the spreadsheet, but for more detailed guidance users should refer to the report (Version 1.1) above. (Version 1.1 of the spreadsheet has been removed from the website, but is available upon request.)
  • Version 1.2b          last updated May 2020
    This version of the spreadsheet conforms to the updated WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol. Originally released in August 2005, it was last updated in May 2020.
  • Version 1.3a          last updated May 2020
    This version of the spreadsheet was updated to conform to the 2006 revised IPCC guidelines for National GHG Inventories.

U.S. Department of Energy 1605b Voluntary Reporting Program

  • Version 2.1b        last updated May 2020          User Manual                    Quick Start Guide
    NCASI developed this version of the spreadsheet to conform to the requirements of the Department of Energy’s guidelines for the Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases (the 1605b program). This version includes an easy-to-use Visual Basic user interface that guides the user through the process of completing a GHG inventory, as well as default emission factors and units appropriate for the DOE program. It will produce the same results as earlier versions if the same emission factors are used, although the results may be expressed differently in some cases.
              This is essentially the same as Version 1.0 of the spreadsheet, except that it includes an enhanced, easier-to-use Visual Basic interface that guides the user through the process of completing a GHG inventory. In addition, this version includes default emission factors and units appropriate for mills in the U.S. NCASI prepared a user manual for this version of the spreadsheet, but for more detailed guidance users should refer to the report (Version 1.1) above. Note: The security setting in the Excel file should be set to “medium” or “low” to enable macros.

GHG Reporting Requirements in Canada

  • Version 3.3a           last updated May 2020          Quick Start Guide  |  Guide d’application rapide
    These tools were designed specifically for Canadian facilities. The spreadsheet is appropriate for developing estimates to satisfy Canadian reporting requirements and contains emission factors, fuel property characteristics, and physical unit conversion factors drawn from the most recent Canadian Standards Association (CSA) GHG Challenge Registry guidance (formerly the Canadian Voluntary Challenge and Registry, or VCR). The spreadsheet has a user-friendly interface and a Quick Start Guide. It was updated in November 2013 to bring it into compliance with the November 2, 2013, Canada Gazette notice. The spreadsheet was revised again in May 2020.
  • Version 4.0          last updated May 2020
    This version of the spreadsheet was developed to help NCASI Member Companies prepare emission estimates in the context of the Canadian GHG Reporting Program starting in 2020 (2019 emissions). It allows the user of the tool to apply carbon contents to calculate emissions where required by Environment and Climate Change Canada.