Embodied carbon emissions of buildings : a case study of an apartment building in the UK.
Fernando, Nirodha Gayani
Victoria, Michele Florencia
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FERNANDO, N.G., EKUNDAYO, D.O. and VICTORIA, M.F. 2018. Embodied carbon emissions of buildings : a case study of an apartment building in the UK. Presented at the 7th World construction symposium 2018: built asset sustainability; rethinking design, construction and operations, 29 June - 01 July 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The UK government has set a target to significantly reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 47% of all UK CO2 emissions are linked to the construction and operation of the built environment. Buildings emit two types of carbon namely operational carbon (OC) and embodied carbon(EC). Operational carbon is regulated in the UK as it contributes up to 70-80% of total emissions. Further, EC reduction is top priority with the rise of demand for zero carbon buildings and EC is unregulated at present. EC can be controlled by vigilant building designs, selection of low carbon materials and technologies. Estimating EC of building will provide better understanding of the carbon significant elements and enable designers to make informed decisions. Accordingly, a case study of an apartment building located in Sunderland in the UK is selected for the study. EC estimates were prepared using priced Bill of Quantities of the building and carbon blackbook. Then, the building elements were classified as per BCIS (Building Cost Information Services) element classification and the carbon significant elements were identified in the case study building. Frame was identified as the most carbon significant element. External walls including windows and doors, upper floors, substructure, internal finishes, roof and internal walls & partitions were identified in descending order of carbon significant elements. Further, comparative analysis of EC between an apartment building and an office building was conducted. The office building carbon significant elements were found to be different from that of an apartment building. Findings of the case study building can inform designers about the elements that has an immense reduction potential and worth investing in low carbon technologies and materials. However, the findings are based on a single case study and, hence, cannot be generalised but can be seen as an exemplar for further research.