Briefing: Embodied carbon dioxide assessment in buildings: guidance and gaps

CIEMAP researcher Jannik Giesekam has published a new briefing paper in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Engineering Sustainability. The paper is an accessible summary of the current and upcoming guidance related to embodied carbon assessment in buildings. This follows on from previous CIEMAP work showing the urgent need to reduce embodied emissions from construction activity.


The construction industry, through its activities and supply chains as well as the operation of the assets that it creates, is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. Embodied carbon dioxide emissions associated with the construction of new assets constitute a growing share of whole-life emissions across all project types and make up nearly a quarter of all annual emissions from the UK built environment. Yet these embodied emissions are still rarely assessed in practice, owing to the perceived difficulty and lack of supporting guidance for practitioners conducting an assessment. This briefing paper retraces recent advances in the field of embodied carbon dioxide assessment and highlights existing and forthcoming practical guidance that could support more widespread assessment. The paper constitutes a where-to rather than a how-to, directing assessors towards appropriate resources, of which there are many. Although the paper does highlight some remaining gaps in the field and identifies corresponding research priorities, recent additions to the body of guidance are generally sufficient to support more widespread assessment. Now, the industry must demonstrate its commitment to tackling climate change by using this guidance to drive deeper carbon dioxide reduction.

Read the full paper at: