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Operational and embodied carbon in new build housing: a reappraisal (NF34)


Until now, focus has been almost entirely on the carbon emissions resulting from the operation of homes. With increasingly energy efficient homes, embodied carbon becomes a more significant proportion of the carbon footprint of a home. Indeed for zero carbon homes introduced from 2016, embodied carbon could exceed the operational carbon when compared on an equal footing.

This publication, supported by Stewart Milne Group, Crest Nicholson plc and Barratt Developments plc, provides detailed results on embodied carbon figures across a range of dwelling types and compliance levels and a full account of the methods used.

Summary of content

This report was commissioned by the NHBC Foundation to investigate the percentage split between operational and embodied carbon (CO2eq) in new build housing, in the context of the progressively more demanding Building Regulations the industry is expecting in 2016 and beyond.

Twenty-four scenarios were appraised, using SAP software to determine operational CO2 emissions and BRE Global’s Environmental Profile methodology to analyse embodied CO2eq emissions.