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Circular construction: a solution to embodied carbon in buildings

  • by JW

More housing is being promised:

Plans for housing in East Devon


But is this going to be more swathes of concrete, or something more thoughtful – aware of the environment they sit in and the materials they use? Here are a few recent pieces from these news pages:

The energy-saving, social housing revolution > Passivhaus wins architecture prize

The energy-saving, social housing revolution > Passivhaus for the mass market

Solar design, solar architecture

A green future for architecture

Ideas for energy-efficient building


And here are some new stories…

This is a recent declaration from architects:

UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency

Here is an academic piece looking at “circular construction”

– because the building industry consumes approximately 40 percent of materials entering the global economy while facing significant challenges related to unsustainable consumption of natural resources and greenhouse gas emissions.:

Embarking upon circular construction | University of Lund

And here is a report from the consultants Arup:

The Circular Economy in the Built Environment – Arup


Because everyone is talking about ’embodied carbon’:

Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront | World Green Building Council


With an excellent overview from the consultants Faithful + Gould:



Sean Lockie: There are two types of carbon emissions with respect to a building, operational carbon and embodied carbon.

Operational carbon refers to carbon dioxide emitted during the life of a building, from the ‘regulated’ and ‘unregulated’ loads associated with the use of a building. This includes the emissions from, say, the heating, cooling, lighting, and ICT.

Embodied carbon refers to carbon dioxide emitted during the manufacture, transport and construction of building materials, together with end of life emissions. So for example, if you are specifying concrete on a project then carbon will have been emitted making that concrete. Their emissions occur during extraction of the raw materials (the cradle), processing in a factory (factory gate), transporting the concrete to a construction site (site). This we refer to as the ‘embodied’ carbon.

Embodied carbon in the construction lifecycle | Faithful + Gould