The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 90 (2012) > Issues > Issue 10 > A comparative embodied carbon assessment of commercial buildings
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A comparative embodied carbon assessment of commercial buildings

This paper presents the results from a comparative embodied carbon assessment of new commercial buildings focusing particularly on different structural forms. The assessment is based on five recently-constructed steel-framed commercial buildings and also on redesigns of those buildings in alternative structural forms. All building and structural options analysed have been independently costed. The embodied carbon assessment was undertaken using the life cycle assessment (LCA) model CLEAR which is based on ISO standards and has been peer-reviewed by Arup. The results presented are a subset of a more comprehensive dataset generated under the Target Zero programme. In addition to the embodied carbon results, other findings relating to operational carbon and BREEAM, which may be of interest to structural engineers, are presented. This paper describes Target Zero and the five buildings studied; the assessment methodologies employed and presents the principal findings and conclusions.

Author(s): M.Sansom (Associate Director, The Steel Construction Institute) R.J.Pope (Technical Consultant to British Constructional Steelwork Association)

Keywords: research, buildings, sustainability, steel, frames, carbon dioxide, embodied energy, emissions, comparing, costs, life cycle, operating, breeam