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Last edited 08 Mar 2022
‘Climate Emergency Design Guide: How new buildings can meet UK climate change’, published by the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) in January 2020 defines embodied carbon (EC) (or embedded carbon) as:
‘The carbon emissions associated with the extraction and processing of materials and the energy and water consumption used by the factory in producing products and constructing the building. It also includes the ‘in-use’ stage (maintenance, replacement, and emissions associated with refrigerant leakage) and ‘end of life’ stage (demolition, disassembly, and disposal of any parts of product or building) and any transportation relating to the above.’
It defines upfront embodied carbon as:
‘The carbon emissions associated with the extraction and processing of materials, the energy and water consumption used by the factory in producing products, transporting materials to site, and constructing the building.’
And whole life carbon (WLC) as including:
‘… embodied carbon, as defined above, and operational carbon. The purpose of using WLC is to move towards a building or a product that generates the lowest carbon emissions over its whole life (sometimes referred as ‘cradle-to-grave’).’
Embodied carbon may also be referred to as embodied emissions.
NB Redefining value, The manufacturing revolution, Remanufacturing, refurbishment, repair and direct reuse in the circular economy, published by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2018, suggests embodied material emissions: ‘Refers to the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas equivalent emissions emitted during the extraction and primary processing stages of materials later used as inputs to OEM New and value-retention process production activities; ‘cradle-to-gate’ up until entering the production facility ‘gate’. Modeling of embodied material emissions uses a material-specific conversion (kgCO2-eq./unit), based on the global average for each material type, in accordance with the Inventory of Carbon and Emissions (ICE) (Hammond and Jones 2011).’
Embodied Carbon, The Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE), By Prof. Geoffrey Hammond and Craig Jones, Ed. Fiona Lowrie and Peter Tse, published by BSRIA in 2011, states embodied carbon (EC) is: ‘…the sum of fuel related carbon emissions (i.e. embodied energy which is combusted – but not the feedstock energy which is retained within the material) and process related carbon emissions (i.e. non-fuel related emissions which may arise, for example, from chemical reactions). This can be measured from cradle-to-gate, cradle-to-grave, or from cradle-to grave.’
- BPIE report urges EU to incorporate the carbon footprint of construction into policy.
- Carbon dioxide.
- Carbon footprint.
- Climate change act.
- Climate change science.
- Climate Emergency Design Guide.
- Cradle to grave.
- Embedded carbon emissions.
- Embodied energy.
- Greenhouse gas.
- PHribbon tool calculates embodied carbon of designs.
- Upfront emissions.
- Use stage embodied carbon.
- Wood, embodied carbon and operational carbon.
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