You are on page 1of 15

Calculation of the Ecological

Footprint Print of the University of

Limericks A4 paper use
Ecological Footprinting has been defined as
the method of measuring the 'load' imposed
by a given population on nature. It
represents the land area necessary to
sustain current levels of resource
consumption and waste discharge by that
population (M.Wackernagel & W.Rees).
It is a method of calculating the
amount of land needed to support
modern life and later absorbits waste.
In order to calculate an EF, data is
Various environmental factors are considered
when calculating the Ecological Footprint
of a product or service they include
Type of land used to supply raw materials
and to later sequester CO2,
Source of energy used in production,
(sustainable or non sustainable)
chemicals used in manufacture,
(biodegradable or non biodegradable)
other toxic emissions created
Go with the data available
UL used 2 EF formulaes
Energy Footprint
Forest Footprint
Also included a Total Tree Usage..
..using formulas & metrics already
already available.
Main piece of data required was the amount
of A4 paper coming into UL.
Weight of paper consumed (kg) * the embodied
energy of paper manufacture (7.24 kWh)
* the carbon dioxide conversion factor for
Ireland (0.000624)
* the recycling factor of 0.3 (excluded)
* the conversion factor for land area
sequestration for a tonne of CO2 in hectares
* global hectare equivalence factor (1.17).
Sharing Natures Interest by Craig Simmons.
There is approximately 125,000 kg of paper coming
into the university each year.(50,000 reams x

125,000kgs x 7.24 = 905,000 kWh/Kg ;

Embodied Energy This is how much energy
kWh, was used in the manufacturing of 50,000
kg of A4 paper

905,000 kWh/Kg of embodied energy

translates into 565 tonnes of CO2 produced.
(905,000 kWh/Kg *0.00062 Irish energy / CO2
equivalence factor (ESB website). aka carbon
Ecological Footprinting is quantified in terms of
hectares of land required to absorb CO 2 and has
a land sequestration conversion factor of 0.19
This 565 tonnes of CO2 produced * land
sequestration conversion factor (565*0.19) = 107
There is a Land Equivalency Factor of 1.4.
This is basically a world average of the various
different types of land that exists on the planet. It
is a combination of forest land, grassland, ocean
bed, desert land, etc. and it amounts to 107*1.4=
150 global hectares which is ULs A4 paper
uses energy footprint
Doesnt stop there..
It estimated that 10 reams of 100% virgin
copier paper uses 0.6 of a tree, therefore
one ream of paper requires approximately
0.06 of a tree.
As UL consumed 50,000 reams of A4 virgin
paper in the 05-06 AY, it follows that
approximately 3,000 trees were felled to
create that much paper.
(1 ream of paper = 0.06 of a tree x 50,000
Again this figure is somewhat general, it
depends on
the species of tree, (thousands)
its age, (1 to 20 years old)
its heights and diameter at both stem and top
its location of growth,
the type of wood i.e. softwood or hardwood. etc
Final note : Ecological Footprinting is a subjective
science, there are no set rules only guidelines,
data can be manipulated is often immeasurable
Forest Footprint
The 3,000 tree value is an estimation of the
number of trees required to supply UL with
A4 paper for a single academic year.
The formulae did not include the forests
1. Sustainable Yield factor (of 2.34(how
sustainable is the forest) or
2. the Raw Wood Material Value (RWMV)
of paper (which was 3.5:1),
Both were then factored into a more
Forest EF formula.
125,000 kg * 3.5kg/kg equates to a raw wood
material equivalent (RWMV) of 437,000 kg.
437,000 kg of RWMV = 125,000kgs of A4
As each ream of A4 paper weighs 8.75 (3.5 x
2.5) kg/kg of raw wood material, it uses 0.06
of a tree, so the number of trees required to
supply UL with its A4 paper for the 05-06 AY
was in the region of 2,879 trees.
(8.75 kg/kg = 0.06 tree, therefore 1kg/kg of raw
wood = 0.06/8.75 = 0.00685 of a tree,
therefore 437,000 kg (0.00685*437,000) =
2,997 trees).
Forests need to be sustained, therefore a
sustainability or yield factor of 2.34
needed to be included in the formulae.
This estimated a more accurate and
sustainable bio productive area
required to supply the raw wood
necessary to supply UL with their
annual A4 paper consumption while
not reducing existing forest stocks.
Thus the following forest EF formulae was
determined: kg of raw wood material /global
average forestry yield * equivalence factor.
Calculation (05-06 data)
437,000 kg of raw wood material.
437 tonnes / 2.34 = 187 hectares of bio-
productive area
* 1.4 (land equivalency factor from energy EF)
= 261.75 global hectares.
The Forest EF of the University of
Limericks 05-06 A4 paper consumption is
over 261 gha.
So we had Energy EF (150 gha) and
Forest EF of (261.75 gha) 05-06
= Total Ecological Footprint = 412 gha
in 07-08 UL had Energy EF (101.44 gha) and
Forest EF (176.77gha) for 07-08
= Total EF (278.21 gha)
Subtract one from the other to show the total
EF reduction 412.04 gha 278.21 gha =134
134 global hectares of sustainable forest
saved due to paper saving initiatives.