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IGT report recommends Embodied Carbon AppraisalDecember 2010

The Innovation and Growth team (IGT), drawn from the construction industry, was tasked by the government to consider how the construction sector could meet the low carbon agenda. The report published on Monday, 29th November, highlighted that the scale for necessary change is considerable but there is much that can be done now, particularly with the existing building stock.

The Chief construction advisor's recommendations concerning embodied carbon included the following points:

  • The Treasury should introduce into the Green Book a requirement to conduct a whole life carbon appraisal and that this is factored into feasibility studies on the basis of a realistic price for carbon.
  • The industry should agree with government a standard method of measuring embodied carbon for use as a design tool and for the purposes of scheme appraisal.

The Inventory of Carbon and Energy, developed with the University of Bath, is due to be published in January 2011. In line with this recent IGT report, it gives an account of why it is necessary to account for the embodied carbon in construction. It presents a substantial amount of raw data (based on 35 classes of material and collated from independent sources) in a way that is readily usable in calculations. It will enable the construction industry to incorporate an evaluation of embodied carbon into the design process in order to make informed choices about which materials to use.

Dr Phillip Lee, Member of the Select Committee for Energy and Climate Change, 2010, states: "We are all very familiar with the targets for reducing carbon. Another important factor in the climate change argument that we must take into account is the carbon in materials used in construction.

The report provides a lot of data and points you to lots more. It also demonstrates the complexities of making embodied carbon assessments. But just because the matter is complex we cannot ignore it. This report compiled by The University of Bath and edited by BSRIA is a welcome contribution to the development of this knowledge."

Copies of Embodied Carbon; The Inventory of Carbon and Energy are available to order at launch price: £25 BSRIA members, £50 non-members. Normal price is £30 BSRIA members, £60 non-members.


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