Leading timber distributor’s new online carbon measurement tool is giving specifiers the confidence to make greener design choices.

Today, at Futurebuild 2022, James Latham Ltd (Lathams), one of the UK’s leading distributors of timber, panels and decorative surfaces, announces the official launch of its powerful new specification tool, the Carbon Calculator.

Credit: James Latham Ltd

Developed in partnership with the University of Bangor the Lathams Carbon Calculator has been designed to help architects and designers better understand the sustainability of the materials they specify.

Trialled amongst Lathams’ customers over the past three months, it is already assisting them in selecting the most suitable, sustainable option to meet their respective project requirements. It is also giving specifiers essential assurance that the information they receive relating to a product’s carbon credentials is complete and accurate, from sourcing the raw materials to selection and delivery.

The Carbon Calculator represents Lathams’ latest innovation as part of its ongoing commitment toward sustainable construction and design, helping specifiers make more informed, lower-carbon choices.

Summing-up Sustainable Specification

The Carbon Calculator is a back-end tool, designed to achieve transparency and give specifiers confidence when selecting for sustainability.  

Built using official, publicly available data and manufacturer product information, the Carbon Calculator collates and aggregates the environmental impact of a chosen material, according to three criteria:

  1. Carbon Footprint – The level of carbon emitted during production and delivery
  2. Embodied Carbon – Carbon removed from the atmosphere and stored within the timber’s structure
  3. Data Confidence – Lathams’ confidence in the strength of the data used to enable the calculation of the first two criteria (e.g. provenance, integrity of detail)

Once evaluated, the product receives a confidence rating from 1-4 (one being the best). The lower the score, the higher the availability and quality of data points reviewed (e.g. published EPDs).

The final rating, including carbon data, is then added to quotations, invoices, delivery notes, and other key documentation, delivering a tangible, codified proof point. This ensures a robust audit trail for the product, providing valuable information for future carbon reporting and responding to sustainability briefs.

Credit: James Latham Ltd

Inspiring Carbon Confidence

Here it is important to caveat, even the lowest-rated materials still meet stringent supply requirements, such as mandatory sourcing from sustainably managed forests.

Essentially, the Carbon Calculator’s rating is intended to highlight the quality and range of available product information, certification and documentation, informing the specifier if data is based on an estimate or actual performance.

Live at Futurebuild

Visitors to Futurebuild (1-3 March 2022, ExCel London) will have the opportunity to find out more about the Carbon Calculator at James Lathams’ stand (Stand D55).

Credit: Kiss House

The stand, which is being ‘taken over’ by pioneering modular developer Kiss House, embraces the dual theme of material innovation and sustainable design. Here Lathams’ team of expert consultants will be on hand to talk through the Carbon Calculator’s functionality and why it will lead to lower-carbon specification.

This is further complemented by a specially created guide, ‘Carbon Capture Made Easy’, which offers a user-friendly overview of the role timber plays in carbon capture, available on the stand, and online here. Not only will it underline why timber is the most sustainable choice, but also how it’s the most carbon-efficient one too.

Finally, Lathams is also supporting sustainable specification campaign ACAN (Architects Climate Action Network) with its takeover of the Futurebuild Bar, providing 20 panels of Honext for the installation. Exclusive to Lathams in the UK, Honext is a revolutionary interior construction panel with green design at its core. Made from cellulose waste from paper production it exemplifies the growing circular approach to surfacing materials manufacturing.

Commenting on the official launch of the Carbon Calculator at the show, Ewa Bazydlo, Environmental Manager at Lathams, says, “We feel that this is the latest milestone in an exciting journey towards low-carbon specification across the entire building, construction and design community.

“By providing a methodology through which the value of sustainability information and certification can be holistically appreciated, we’re increasing confidence amongst architects and designers that they are making the greenest choice possible, in line with the requirements of their project brief.”

She continues, “Working closely with academic institutions, market leading suppliers, designers and developers we’ve created a backend tool which adds tangible value to the material selection process. We look forward to engaging with the specification community at Futurebuild 2022 and over the coming year to bring this enhancement to life.”