Embodied Carbon: The Concealed Impact of Residential Construction
Modern society is underpinned by a complex web of economic and social activities; commerce, transport, and leisure interweave providing support to not only sustain, but also enhance our way of life. In doing so we have created unprecedented environmental impacts and a burden that must be carried by our planet and our planet alone. Much of this burden is associated with cities, which appear to ‘sustain’ immense populations and satisfy the consumption activities of its many inhabitants. Unfortunately such activities normally require a quantity of natural resources well beyond the bio-capacity of its locality.
KeywordsLife Cycle Assessment Emission Factor Floor Area Building Type Life Cycle Assessment Result
The research leading to the development of the ICE inventory was principally supported via a UK research grant awarded by the Carbon Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) [Grant GR/S94292/01, as part of the ‘Carbon Vision Buildings’ (Building Market Transformation (BMT)) Programme] awarded to the first author (GPH). Both authors are grateful to the BMT consortia co-ordinators: Dr Brenda Boardman and Dr Mark Hinnells of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Dr Boardman was succeeded in her post by Dr Nick Eyre on October 1, 2007. The corresponding author (CIJ) is at present partially funded via a strategic partnership between E.ON UK (the electricity generator) and the EPSRC to study the role of electricity within the context of ‘Transition Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy’ [under Grant EP/F022832/1]. Here the ICE database is being used to aid the determination of the embodied energy and carbon associated with various types of power generation plant. Prof. Hammond is the co-leader of this large consortium of university partners (jointly with Prof. Peter Pearson, an energy economist from Imperial College London). The authors greatly appreciate the interchange with Peter Pearson and the other main UK partners at E.ON Engineering and at the Universities of East Anglia (Prof. Jacquie Burgess), Leeds (Dr Timothy Foxon), Loughborough (Dr Murray Thomson), Surrey (Prof. Matthew Leach), and Strathclyde (Dr Graham Ault and Prof. David Infield), as well as at Imperial College London (Prof. Goran Strbac) and Kings College London (Dr Neil Strachan). The authors have also benefitted from a discourse with colleagues in the Sustainable Energy Research Team (SERT) at Bath. However, the views expressed are those of the authors alone and should not necessarily be attributed to the collaborators or funding bodies.
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