The race is on in the building and construction sector to decarbonise. Yet, an often ignored but fast-growing type of carbon emission should ring alarm bells – embodied carbon. This carbon type is emitted during the construction phase, which includes the manufacture of construction materials and onsite construction processes.
Simply put, this effectively means all embodied carbon is largely locked in for a building’s entire life cycle once the building is constructed. Which may not raise eyebrows until you factor in that Architecture 2030 expects the global building stock to double by 2060. Yes, DOUBLE! Imagine the insane levels of embodied carbon we need to combat from now on!
Do not confuse embodied carbon with operational carbon. The latter is released during the ongoing operation of a building, from energy sources such as lighting, power and air-conditioning. After construction is completed.