How to decarbonise the residential sector: Using Whole Life Carbon Assessment to compare the impact of two different construction methods

Speaker: Isabelle Gough, University of Chester
Venue: Online - Microsoft Teams
Date: 27/8/2021 11:30 - 12:30
Audience: Staff, students and Thornton tenants

Abstract

The built environment is recognised as one of the largest contributors to climate change in the UK, the sector being responsible for around 40% of CO2 emissions. To achieve truly low-carbon homes, it is not enough to simply increase the efficiency of the housing stock. We must measure, record and reduce the emissions from the full lifecycle of the building work involved, to include the embodied emissions from the materials, transportation, construction and end of life. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a well-established methodology for quantifying whole-life carbon, and these principals have been adapted for the construction industry in the RICS professional standard ‘Whole-life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment’. In this study, Whole-life Carbon Assessment has been applied to 15 residential construction case studies. In each case, traditional construction methods (masonry) have been compared to a sustainable build system model (timber frame with low U-value construction). It was found that whole life carbon could be reduced by up 78% by selecting a sustainable construction method.

Speaker's Bio

Isabelle is an MRes student in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Prof Steve Wilkinson and Dr Mayo Osundeko.

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