The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) recently updated a set of analytical workbooks known as “SEFA” (Spreadsheets for Environmental Footprint Analysis) to help decision-makers analyze the environmental footprint of a site cleanup project, determine which cleanup activities drive the footprint, and adjust project parameters to reduce the footprint. Information to be input by the user may be gathered from project planning documents, field records and other existing resources. Automated calculations within SEFA generate outputs that quantify 21 metrics corresponding to core elements of a greener cleanup.


Environmental Footprint Summary

Core ElementGreen Remediation MetricUnit of Measure
Materials & WasteM&W-1Refined materials used on sitetons
M&W-2Percent of refined materials from recycled or waste materialpercent
M&W-3Unrefined materials used on sitetons
M&W-4Percent of unrefined materials from recycled or waste materialpercent
M&W-5Onsite hazardous waste generatedtons
M&W-6Onsite non-hazardous waste generatedtons
M&W-7Percent of total potential onsite waste that is recycled or reusedpercent
WaterOnsite water use (by source)
W-1– Source, use, fate combination #1millions of gallons
W-2– Source, use, fate combination #2millions of gallons
W-3– Source, use, fate combination #3millions of gallons
W-4– Source, use, fate combination #4millions of gallons
EnergyE-1Total energy useMMBtu
E-2Total energy voluntarily derived from renewable resources
E-2A– Onsite generation or use and biodiesel useMMBtu
E-2B– Voluntary purchase of renewable electricityMWh
E-2C– Voluntary purchase of RECsMWh
AirA-1Onsite NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissionslbs
A-2Onsite HAP emissionslbs
A-3Total NOx, SOx, and PM10 emissionslbs
A-4Total HAP emissionslbs
A-5Total GHG emissionstons CO2e
Land & Ecosystems

Qualitative description

SEFA was first released in 2012 and updated in 2014. In 2019, SEFA was updated to incorporate new default footprint conversion factors for additional materials, diesel or gasoline engines of various sizes, and laboratory analyses. The 2019 update (Version 3.0) also provides additional areas for entering user-defined footprint conversion factors.

Instructions for SEFA Users

  • SEFA comprises three internally linked workbooks (files) in a standard spreadsheet (Excel) format; the files should be saved in a single directory to assure accurate/complete data exchange.
  • Optimal functioning of the workbooks relies on use of Microsoft Office 2013 or higher.
  • An “Introduction” worksheet (tab) in the “Main” workbook provides an overview of SEFA, including its data structure.
  • Technical support in using SEFA is not available outside the Agency; other parties interested in using or adapting the workbooks may wish to obtain technical assistance from qualified environmental or engineering professionals.

Supporting Methodology

EPA’s “Methodology for Understanding and Reducing a Project’s Environmental Footprint” report provides a seven-step process for quantifying the 21 metrics associated with a site cleanup. The report also addresses the value of footprint analysis; discusses the level of effort and cost involved in footprint analysis; details interpretative considerations; provides illustrative approaches to reducing a cleanup project’s environmental footprint; and contains related planning checklists and reference tables.