Ware Eastern Transfer Station, Herts
Calculated the embodied carbon associated with building a waste transfer station, working with the design and engineering team to integrate the carbon assessment with design optioneering in Revit a
Churchill Quarter, Bromley
Whole-Life Carbon and Circular Economy assessment for a major high-rise residential-led development on a brownfield site in Bromley. We provided the lifecycle carbon assessment,
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Embodied carbon: What it is and how to tackle it
For years, developers and contractors have been aware of a building's operational carbon emissions when developing new sites. Responsible for most of the total emissions over an asset’s lifetime, they have been a priority for carbon reduction targets to date.
But to become carbon neutral and deliver net zero buildings, the same level of focus and investment is needed to tackle embodied carbon emissions.
Regulating embodied carbon
Embodied carbon has moved a lot higher up the agenda for industry and government. While it currently accounts for 11% of greenhouse gas emissions, with the projected increase of construction initiatives over the coming decades, it’s believed that by 2050 embodied and operational carbon emissions will be the same.
Industry leads are currently backing proposals for legal limits on embodied carbon. This would see an amendment to the Building Regulations known as “Part Z” which would enforce:
- Mandatory limits for upfront carbon emissions on al building projects over 1,000m2 from 2027
- Construction firms to assess and report on whole life carbon on all non-residential projects over 1,000m2 from 2023 and residential projects from 2025
Building for resilience
One of the main methods to reduce embodied carbon is by using more resilient materials that will last longer and are often produced via a more efficient construction process. Adopting these changes will reduce capital expenditure as well as maintenance, repair and replacement costs.
Embodied carbon and planning consent
Cost benefits aside, demonstrating your commitment to reducing embodied emissions is quickly becoming a key consideration in obtaining planning permission. Several local authorities - including Westminster City Council, Brighton, Oxford, Hammersmith and Fulham, Camden and City of London - have started to enquire about the embodied carbon footprints of developments. Having an embodied carbon evaluation may soon make all the difference in the planning process.
BREEAM, LEED and Green Star are all building rating systems that recognise embodied carbon measurement and mitigation as part of minimising the impact of a building’s life cycle.