Embodied and whole life carbon assessment

Delivering a more planet friendly built environment.

We have an opportunity to reduce our carbon impact on the environment through the buildings and spaces we create.

Now we have the ability to quantify those impacts by reducing carbon emissions through better building design, low carbon material choices and circular economic strategies.

This is no longer optional but essential and, with the right advice, achievable.

Why measure embodied carbon?

Understand: Help project teams to understand the overall environmental impact of the building design when specifying construction products and materials.

Quantify: Ability to quantify embodied life cycle greenhouse gas emissions at design stage.

Compare: Ability to directly compare carbon impacts of our projects.

Reduce: Flexibly assess options to reduce carbon impacts at concept stages.

BREEAM: Ability to prepare building life cycle assessment (LCA) for BREEAM credits.

Net Zero: Ability to lead the transition to a net zero carbon built environment, as promoted by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC).

Transparency: Provide transparent information when calculating building embodied carbon emissions which can be independently verified by clients seeking to reduce their organisation’s carbon footprint.

Click to download our latest Embodied Carbon Study

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Click to download our latest Embodied Carbon Study

What is LCA?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a method of evaluating the environmental impact of construction processes and buildings from cradle to grave. It attempts to identify the environmental effects during all stages of the life of a building, and produces figures that represent the environmental and carbon impact.

Whereas regulation focuses only on operational energy of modelled performance in buildings, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) very clearly expands the scope of in-use performance to encompass the whole life carbon impacts of both new and existing buildings.

As we transition to a net zero carbon built environment; clients, councils, and other stakeholders will be demanding transparency when it comes to carbon footprint and other environmental impacts. LCA provides this transparency.

Building life cycles explained

Product stage

Stages A1 to A3

Extraction of raw materials (A1)

Transporting raw materials to place of manufacture (A2)

Assembly / Manufacture and packaging at a factory into building products (A3)

These are known as ‘Cradle-to-gate’ emissions.

Construction stage

Stages A4 to A5

Transporting products to site (A4)

Assembly into a completed building (A5)

Combined with previous stages is known as ‘Cradle-to-PC’ emissions (Practical Completion) or are sometimes termed the ‘Upfront’ emissions.

Use stage

Stages B1 to B7

Use, maintenance, repair, replacement or refurbishment (B1 to B5)

Operational Energy Use (B6)Operational Water Use (B7)

These account for the emissions ‘in use’ following handover and it is standard practice to assess these over a 60 year time frame.

End-of-Life stage

Stages C1 to C4

Deconstruction and demolition (C1)

Transport of waste, processing or disposal (C2 to C4)

Combined with all previous stages these are known as ‘Cradle-to-grave’ emissions.

If Operational Energy B6 and Water Use (B6-B7) are excluded these are known as the ‘Embodied Carbon’ emissions.

Our capability

BIM enabled LCA calculations

OneClick LCA links to our Revit BIM Model’s volumetric data for accuracy.

We map material choices to the largest LCA Database of generic and local Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

All data is continuously verified and up-to-date in a central database.

BRE approved for BREEAM Mat Credits.

Compliant reporting based on the RICS ‘Whole life carbon assessment for the built environment’ which is currently the leading methodology based on EN 15978.

Operational Energy calculation

The Passivhaus Planning Package (PHPP) is used to assess the energy efficiency of a building through the conventions of the Passivhaus standard. We have certified Passivhaus Designers in-house.

We can review all types of building at design stage, preplanning or post planning. The PHPP process will identify the heating and cooling demand per year, as well as the renewable energy demands and gains.

This is an excellent design tool that can be used to optimise performance and give you a good estimate of annual running costs and the carbon impact over the life of the building.

Understanding the Data

We know LCA terminology can be confusing which is why we aim to present data in a visual way to enable project teams an stakeholders to grasp the impacts in a more personal way…

Benchmarking

Like an energy label we can benchmark your building against industry standards and best practice for example the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge and others. With your permission we will actively share our results to further inform emerging standards and future regulations.

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