Sustainable Design

Life-Cycle Assessment & Embodied Carbon

What is Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)?

LCA is a methodology that assesses the environmental impacts associated with all the life-cycle stages of a building. LCAs enable the identification of life-cycle stages and materials that are most harmful to the environment.

LCAs incorporate both Embodied Carbon and Operational Carbon, as well as other environmental impacts.

What is Embodied Carbon and Operational Carbon?

  1. Embodied Carbon: is the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions throughout the lifetime of the building related to the construction, maintenance, and end-of-life of a building. Embodied carbon is now the main challenge, since operational carbon improvements have largely been the main focus in recent years

  2. Operational Carbon: the sum of all greenhouse gas emissions throughout the lifetime of the building related to the operation of a building.

Why conduct an LCA?

  1. Environmental Considerations: The built environment is responsible for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions, yet there is insufficient effort to assess the full scope of a building’s emissions. If we are to halt the worst effects of climate change, Embodied Carbon must be considered and mitigated.

  2. Upcoming Legislation: Legislation is being developed on the city- and country-level to limit Embodied Carbon for new developments and refurbishment projects. To be prepared for future legislations, it’s important to begin considering your Embodied Carbon now.

  3. Be Proactive: Performing LCAs and developing processes to calculate and reduce Embodied Carbon is both complex and time-consuming. In addition, this can only be addressed prior to the completion of a build.

  4. Reporting: Embodied carbon of new developments and refurbishment projects is a metric that has to be reported in various reporting and accounting frameworks (eg. GRESB, GHG accounting).

How does conducting an LCA help your business?

By conducting an LCA and implementing strategies to reduce your Embodied Carbon, your asset can see significant improvements to its carbon footprint. In addition to unlocking this added sustainable value, you will be prepared for upcoming legislative requirements limiting Embodied Carbon and will be able to address the full scope of your carbon emissions.

How can Longevity Partners help?

  1. High-Level Strategy: Developing a high-level strategy to address Embodied Carbon through systematic LCA implementation for new developments and refurbishments, legislation review, target setting, and internal training for your team and suppliers.

  2. Whole Life Carbon Reduction: Calculating the whole life carbon emissions of your building, proposing low-carbon design guidance to reduce the Embodied Carbon of future developments, and providing energy consumption reduction measures to reduce the operational carbon.

  3. Design Team support to Reduce Embodied Carbon: Support the design team to implement embodied carbon reduction measures. Sourcing low embodied carbon materials, introducing circular economy measures, implementing new construction processes, etc. As part of the project, Longevity Partners will calculate the building’s embodied carbon and monitor its evolution.

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