Construction pollutes

7th September, 2009 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

The greenhouse gasses released as a result of building construction – the embodied carbon in buildings — is usually ignored.  But it was calculated for BedZED (Beddington Zero Energy Development)  by one of the project initiators, Bioregional. They say:

the embodied environmental impacts of BedZED’s construction materials are within the same range as standard UK housing. The total embodied CO2 of BedZED is 675kg/m2, whilst typical volume house builders build to 600-800kg/m2.

Construction Materials Report by Nicole Lazarus, BioRegional Development Group,  Bioregional report (Download)

This means a 100m2 flat in BedZED has embodied carbon of 67.5 tonnes CO2. Compare this to carbon rations suggested in the GreenRationBook :

The average UK citizen creates 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) a year. New UK targets aim to cut this by 80%. Dividing the ration equally between categories “consumables”, “building”, “transport” and “government”, allows 1.5kg per day.

This argument gives a ration for building of 500kg CO2e per person per year. For two people living in an average-sized 3-bedroomed flat, the 67.5 tonnes CO2e is 33+ years of their building ration. That’s before the flat is heated, the fridge switched on and the impact of all the other necessary buildings (shops, offices schools etc) are considered.

Greenhouse gasses released due to building construction are a big impact.

But does anyone else measure them? (Clue: BREEM does not.)

Note: Apr 2013:

Bob Hill has sent “Carbon footprint calculation / embodied energy cost in CO2 for traditional domestic living accommodation.  B.Hill 2012″. He used the Standard Method of Measurement as compiled by the R.I.C.S.

Model example taken is a semi detached, 3 bed unit,normal floor area over 2 storeys n.e. 100 m2,brick and block cavity wall construction,timber truss roof, concrete roof tiles,timber floor,concrete beam and concrete block g.f. suspended slab.

Total  embodied CO2 92.384 tonnes.

Posted on: September 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized

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