Discrepancy in Embodied Carbon Calculations for Concrete Materials

Keyhani,, Maryam, Bahadori-Jahromi, Ali ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0405-7146, Mylona, Anastasia and Godfrey, Paulina (2023) Discrepancy in Embodied Carbon Calculations for Concrete Materials. Euro-Mediterranean Conference for Environmental Integration (EMCEI-23), held in Rende (Cosenza), Italy, 2 to 5th October 2023.

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Abstract. Accurate assessment of embodied carbon is integral to understanding the environmental impact of building materials and promoting sustainable building practices. This process aids in prioritizing efforts to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. Existing studies highlight discrepancies across various embodied carbon databases, causing uncertainty in assessments. Our study reveals significant differences in the calculated embodied carbon of materials, depending on whether they are assessed as a singular entity or as composed of individual components. Concrete, a major contributor to embodied carbon in construction projects, serves as our focus. We calculate the embodied carbon of concrete materials in a typical residential building using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a comprehensive method to evaluate environmental impacts throughout a building's life cycle. We utilize the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE), one of the most reliable databases, for our assessment. Our findings indicate substantial differences when calculating embodied carbon for concrete as a singular material (first scenario) versus considering its component parts (second scenario). The first scenario results in at least a 20% increase in carbon emissions, with the exact discrepancy depending on the type of concrete materials and whether they are reinforced. Given that approximately 66% of the total quantity of our case study comprises concrete, these differences are substantial. Our study underscores the importance of incorporating embodied carbon factors into a unified database to accurately assess total embodied carbon emissions of buildings. It also highlights the potential for database uncertainty to skew interpretations of embodied carbon if an LCA is conducted for design reduction. Hence, a reliable baseline for calculating embodied carbon is crucial.

Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, Sustainability, Embodied Carbon, Concrete, Discrepancy

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, Sustainability, Embodied Carbon, Concrete, Discrepancy
Subjects: Construction and engineering
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ali Bahadori-Jahromi
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2023 14:19
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 16:17
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10489


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