Our expert assessors provide Embodied Carbon and Whole Life Carbon Assessments to help you identify, measure, and reduce carbon emissions in your building construction projects.

What is Embodied Carbon?

Embodied carbon refers to the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with producing, transporting, and constructing building materials. This includes emissions from the extraction of raw materials and the fuel used to produce them, transportation between sites, and production processes.

By understanding the embodied carbon associated with a building project, designers, builders, and facility managers can look for solutions that reduce both operational and embodied emissions. This ensures buildings are designed sustainably from both a construction and operational perspective.

Approaches you can use to reduce embodied carbon include the use of low-carbon materials, improved manufacturing processes, and smarter transportation logistics.

Whole Life Carbon Assessment

A Whole Life Carbon Assessment (WLC) is an analysis of the total carbon emissions associated with the entire life cycle of a built project from extraction to disposal.

It involves the measurement of both direct (operational) and indirect (embodied) carbon emissions, which is critical in understanding the overall potential environmental impact of a project. By undertaking a Whole Life Carbon Assessment, you can identify areas for improvement and develop effective strategies aimed at reducing the carbon footprint.

Running a WLC assessment provides you with deep insights into the total amount of GHGs that are released into the atmosphere at every stage of a building's life. These emissions come from processes like energy use for heating and cooling, as well as upstream GHG emissions from off-site activities like resource extraction, transportation, and manufacturing of building materials.

By quantifying and understanding the lifetime carbon impacts of your project, you can make informed decisions on materials selection and construction practices that limit environmental damage and reduce embodied carbon costs.

The benefits of a WLC assessment include: 

  • Increased visibility into the total carbon impact of your project.
  • Reduced life cycle costs due to more efficient material selection strategies.
  • Compliance with BREEAM regulations and Climate Change Agreements.
  • Improved public perception and enhanced reputation for your business.
  • Insights into how your construction activities contribute to embodied carbon emissions.
  • Increased opportunities for leading-edge technology implementations.

Scope 1, 2, and 3 Emissions

Carbon emissions from a building are considered and measured using three scopes:

Scope 1 (Direct Energy)

Actions carried out by your organisation or under its ownership or control that release pollutants directly into the atmosphere. These emissions are direct ones. Scope 1 emissions include those produced by combustion in privately owned or operated boilers, furnaces, or vehicles.

Scope 2 (Indirect Energy)

Emissions into the atmosphere as a result of your use of energy, heat, steam, and cooling that you have purchased. These emissions come from your organisation's operations but are produced from sources that you do not own or control.

Scope 3 (Other indirect)

Emissions are those produced as a result of your actions but do not fall under Scope 2 emissions since they come from sources that you do not own or control. Instances of Scope 3 emissions are caused by business travel.

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is essential to a Whole Life Carbon evaluation.

An LCA helps you understand the long-term effects of design choices throughout the design phase. This encourages longevity, resource efficiency, recycling, and future adaptability, all of which help lower carbon emissions over the course of a building’s lifetime.

Click to find out more about a Circular Economy Statement