Measuring and mitigating embodied carbon in educational buildings: A case study in the UK

Abstract

Embodied carbon is a significant contributor to a building's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, decarbonizing the building industry is a necessary response to national and global carbon reduction objectives. During the design stage, architects have the opportunity to reduce a building's embodied carbon. However, minimizing embodied carbon requires evaluating embodied carbon emissions during various life cycle phases. Recently, researchers have shown increased interest in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of buildings, a methodology for assessing environmental impacts at all stages of a building's life. This research aims to determine the impact of using 'low-carbon materials' strategy on the total embodied carbon of an educational building using LCA and three different data sources: EPDs, the ICE database, and RICS guidelines. The analysis of the building indicated that metal and concrete materials generate the most embodied carbon, approximately 1038 and 552 tonCO2e, respectively. It was also determined that the Product Stage accounts for over 80% of total emissions. Moreover, using recycled metal material, low-carbon concrete, light-coloured brick, and Rockwool can reduce embodied carbon by 47%, 43%, 10%, and 43%, respectively. Consequently, the embodied carbon of the building has the potential to be reduced by 37% overall.

Keywords

Embodied Carbon, Life Cycle Assessment, Embodied carbon reduction strategy, data sources, GHG emissions

How to Cite

Keyhani, M., Bahadori-Jahromi, A., Mylona, A., Janbey, A., Godfrey, P. B. & Taşeli, B., (2023) “Measuring and mitigating embodied carbon in educational buildings: A case study in the UK”, Engineering Future Sustainability 1(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.36828/efs.220

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Authors

Maryam Keyhani (The University of West London)
Ali Bahadori-Jahromi (University of West London)
Anastasia Mylona (The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers [CIBSE])
Alan Janbey (London College, UCK)
Paulina B Godfrey (Hilton)
Prof Başak Taşeli orcid logo (Giresun University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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