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Mon March 08 2021

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RICS produces embodied carbon calculator

6 Jun 14 A methodology to calculate the total carbon emitted from a building has been published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

It works out embodied carbon across the entire property lifecycle from construction through to demolition.

Embodied carbon levels can often reach up to 70% of the total carbon in very low energy thermal mass buildings, (buildings made up of materials such as brick, concrete, stone and tile) which reduces the operational energy. If embodied carbon was not considered, properties such as these could take 40 years to become carbon positive – rather spoiling the savings made during their operation, RICS says, and making them unsustainable in the long term.

RICS says that its methodology provides a fuller understanding of the impacts of decisions made at the design and construction stage on the whole life carbon emissions for a building.

By focusing on the carbon significant items, surveyors will be able to provide advice on the different design options, looking at carbon as well as the cost, to provide the best and most balanced solutions, it says.

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“Our newly published methodology is an exciting step in the world of carbon accounting; measuring the total carbon emitted for a building across the property lifecycle,” said RICS special projects director Martin Russell-Croucher.

“Embodied carbon is an increasingly significant part of the overall carbon burden in properties and should be considered as part of the design and construction phases of a building.

“By focusing on the carbon-significant items, surveyors, particularly quantity surveyors will be able to advise on the different design options – looking at carbon as well as the cost – to provide the best, balanced solutions. These will increasingly become a vital tool in the surveyor's armoury for reducing CO2 emissions in order to combat the effects of climate change.”

RICS Methodology to Calculate Embodied Carbon Global Guidance Note can be found at but only RICS members can download it.

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