The World Green Building Council has launched the EU Policy Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for buildings as part of the #BuildingLife project.

We are facing a climate emergency, and the construction sector produces around 36% of total European carbon emissions. This is mainly due to our aging and inefficient urban fabric, and the urgent need for the construction industry to modernise.

With the adoption of energy efficiency measures, it is expected that most efficient buildings will end up accumulating more embodied carbon emissions over their lifetime than their corresponding operational carbon emissions. This can be seen in cases C, B and A below. This scenario puts in context the growing importance of the correct calculation of embodied carbon of buildings.  

Embodied and operative carbon trend, depending on EPC rating (Spain). Source: GBCe

Bryden Wood supports the adoption of measures to achieve the following objectives defined in the roadmap:

  • By 2030 all new buildings will be Net Zero Carbon over their life cycle and existing buildings will achieve a 50% reduction in carbon.
  • By 2050 all new and existing buildings will need to be Net Zero Carbon over their life cycle.  

From a design viewpoint this requires:

  • Adopting a design process which calculates and reduces embodied carbon in addition to reducing operational carbon emissions.
  • Normalising the calculation of embodied carbon over the building’s whole life cycle.
  • Normalising the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and responsible sourcing certificates.
  • The adoption of a circular economy model in the design and construction of buildings.
  • The total electrification of buildings, particularly homes, in order to be able to benefit fully from the decarbonation of the grid.
  • Promoting the refurbishment of existing buildings.

Bryden Wood is committed to reducing its environmental impact and supports the roadmap and the #BuildingLife initiative.

To read more about how we deliver net zero carbon buildings using DfMA and lean design, go here.