Methodology to calculate a building’s embodied carbon

Methodology to calculate a building’s embodied carbon

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published a methodology to calculate the total carbon emitted for a building, known as embodied carbon. It will measure across the entire property’s lifecycle – from construction through to demolition.

The measurement is a crucial development in the world of carbon accounting as embodied carbon is increasingly becoming a more significant part of the overall carbon burden for properties.

Often embodied carbon levels reach up to 70 percent of the total carbon in very low energy thermal mass buildings, (buildings made up of materials such as brick, concrete, stone and tile) which reduces the operational energy. If embodied carbon was not considered, properties such as these may not become carbon positive for over 40 years, rather spoiling the savings made during their operation and making them unsustainable in the long term.

For building professionals, most notably chartered surveyors, the methodology provides a fuller understanding of the impacts of decisions made at the design and construction stage on the whole life carbon emissions for a building.

embodied-carbon-buildings-Martin-Russell-Croucher-RICS

Martin Russell-Croucher, RICS Director of Special Projects and Sustainability

“By focusing on the carbon-significant items, surveyors, particularly quantity surveyors, will be able to advise on the different design options – looking at carbon as well as the cost – to provide the best, balanced solutions.” says Martin Russell-Croucher, RICS Director of Special Projects and Sustainability. “These will increasingly become a vital tool in the surveyor’s armoury for reducing CO2 emissions in order to combat the effects of climate change.”

 

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