Case study

TERAO Asia: Sustainable engineering for buildings and cities

TERAO Asia: Sustainable engineering for buildings and cities

How TERAO Asia uses One Click LCA software to implement sustainable strategies across the entire building lifecycle

The Impact of Energy Management Decisions on Environmental Sustainability Metrics

Hear about net zero carbon, energy and similar initiatives in APAC and their role in assessing the environmental sustainability metrics with Terao Asia.

TERAO Asia's approach to sustainable innovation is applied to the entire building lifecycle 

"Whole life carbon assessment is not just a tool—it's the cornerstone of TERAO's sustainability strategy, guiding us to make decisions that safeguard our planet for generations to come."  

—Grégory Lect, CEO of ATIXIS, the holding company of TERAO 


TERAO, established in 1993, is a global consulting and engineering company that has been involved in energy efficiency and green building engineering for more than 30 years. Headquartered in Paris, the firm is one of the pioneers of energy-saving and sustainable buildings, with a team of over 70 multidisciplinary engineers. 

Since 2008, TERAO is active across Asia with offices in Shanghai, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. TERAO Asia assists clients in reducing their environmental impact through carbon footprint assessment and emissions reductions. From design to operation and maintenance, TERAO operates on the whole building life cycle.  

"With Europe's CBAM (Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism), governments and companies in China and across Asia are increasingly recognizing the need to make their facilities more sustainable for the future," said Arnaud Rouchette, Managing Director, China at TERAO Asia. We've been seeing growing interest in the topic, and this is where our different services can help." 

Helping clients meet sustainable engineering goals with accurate data every step of the way 

How does TERAO Asia integrate sustainable strategies for buildings at the different stages of the lifecycle? 

We offer a wide range of sustainable initiatives for the built environment. The early planning and design stages are where we can help the client achieve the most significant environmental impact reduction for a project. At these stages, the priority is increasing energy efficiency through site analysis, bioclimatic design, and optimization of MEP systems to reduce operational carbon emissions. Then, we look at the appropriate renewable energy supply for the remaining energy consumption.  

During the construction phase, we focus on managing construction waste, transportation, and compliance tracking of the sustainable objectives defined during the design phase. When a project is in operation, the main sustainable tactic is to enhance energy management through framework implementation, such as ISO 50001, sobriety, proper calibration, and the assessment of data quality.  

At the end-of-life stage, we undertake technical studies to analyse the reuse potential of equipment and materials and promote selective deconstruction techniques and principles to ensure a higher recovery rate down the recycling channels of each waste stream. 


What role does whole-life carbon assessment play in the projects you undertake? 

With the emerging paradigm shift towards a circular economy, whole-life carbon assessment is at the core of the most ambitious and forward-looking projects we are involved in. The whole life-cycle carbon emissions of the materials must be tackled from the beginning of the projects in parallel with other sustainable initiatives.  

One Click LCA is the tool we use to assess strategies to reduce the embodied carbon footprint of the projects we take on. We start with design adjustments to minimize the quantities of materials needed and ensure dismantling and re-use properties at the end of life. Then, we analyse sustainable materials alternatives and suitable supply distances.  


Before you began using One Click LCA, what were some of the biggest challenges you encountered when measuring and reducing your building projects' embodied, operational, and whole-life carbon emissions? 

In Asia, we faced various challenges when tasked with calculating and reducing the overall environmental impact of projects. There were issues related to data availability and quality due to limited EPD databases, lack of detailed information about the recycled content from materials suppliers, and unreliable or unclear bills of quantities from general contractors. There were also high levels of high uncertainty levels related to the local grid emission factor evolution over the lifespan of projects. Another challenge was the limited scope or functions of the previous calculation tools we used for the cost or non-carbon-related environmental impacts like water or land use. 

Discovering a reliable and user-friendly tool: Why TERAO Asia chose One Click LCA 

What were the main reasons you chose to go with One Click LCA? 

There were several reasons we went with One Click LCA instead of other software tools. First, the company has an international profile, and its software offers access to a materials database for China, which was a prerequisite for this decision. Given our development plans in Asia at the time, it was essential to choose a company that was willing to expand to new markets. Another deciding factor was the straightforward user interface, which is helpful for deploying the tool internally within the team and showing results to clients. We can easily explain to the client which components have the most significant impact and outcome. 

Carbon footprint calculation via OneClick LCA for PRD logistics platform in Shanghai

Carbon footprint calculation via OneClick LCA for PRD logistics platform in Shanghai

How TERAO Asia uses One Click LCA's powerful and flexible solutions 

What are some of the key benefits of using One Click LCA’s software 

One Click LCA's Carbon Designer tool is very useful for projects at the feasibility stage when the main structural materials have yet to be decided. It is a powerful way to illustrate the various design possibilities to the client, advance the conversation, and implement more ambitious sustainable strategies.  

We frequently use the LCA for LEED tool and appreciate how clear and user-friendly results are displayed. One Click LCA offers the option to transfer information to Excel for specific comparisons or assumptions, which isn't always available with standard tools. The modules for achieving LEED, BREEAM, and DGNB certifications are useful. Also, the tool to identify the top ten materials contributing the most carbon to a project is a quick and valuable way to clearly show results to any client interested in addressing embodied carbon. 

Another strength of One Click LCA is the seamless transition from the concept stage to the detailed LCA. With construction projects, components are constantly changing, so it's essential to have a flexible tool.  


How do you leverage One Click LCA in your projects? 

It depends on the scope of work and the phase of a project. As mentioned, for projects in the feasibility or schematic design stage, when the LCA scope has not been decided yet, we use the Carbon Designer tool to show clients different possibilities while comparing box models based on building shape and orientation as well as reasonable assumptions of the building's main structure and envelope or roof components. 

For projects well into the design phase that have targeted a path for LCA comparison, the baseline model and the proposed model evolve simultaneously. Usually, we offer at least three iterations throughout the design development phase to improve the proposed design and adjust the baseline for equivalency. The target is to identify the ten most carbon-contributing materials and other impacts to establish a range of comparisons.   

During construction documentation, including the pre- and post-tender phases, we use the software to focus more on a material spot analysis and compare products with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), where improvements via EPD optimization seem reasonable. We then track the changes during the construction process and conduct a final LCA based on the as-built bill of quantities after the construction is complete. 

It is important to note that in Asia and Southeast Asia, the lack of EPDs limits the LCA's scope to produce results with primary data. As a result, most of the information relies on secondary data, creating a wider gap for uncertainty among projects. Despite this, it is still a step forward for disclosure. 

"With the emerging paradigm shift toward a circular economy, whole-life carbon assessment is at the core of the most ambitious and forward-looking projects we are involved in. The whole life-cycle carbon emissions of the materials must be tackled from the beginning of the projects in parallel with other sustainable initiatives." 

 — Arnaud Rouchette, Managing Director, China at TERAO Asia 

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