Embodied carbon ignored

13th October, 2009 - Posted by admin - Comments Off

The quantity of greenhouse gasses released as a result of building construction – the embodied carbon in buildings — is usually ignored. But, to their credit, it was calculated for BedZED 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

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 67.5 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.

Posted on: October 13, 2009

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