Global Warming pp 367-384 | Cite as

Embodied Carbon: The Concealed Impact of Residential Construction

  • Geoffrey P. Hammond
  • Craig I. Jones
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


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.


Life Cycle Assessment Emission Factor Floor Area Building Type Life Cycle Assessment Result 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



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.


  1. Amato, A., 1996. A Comparative Environmental Appraisal of Alternative Framing Systems for Offices. PhD thesis, Oxford Brookes University.Google Scholar
  2. Boustead, I. and Hancock, G.F., 1979. Handbook of Industrial Energy Analysis. Ellis Horwood, Chichester.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, A.I., Hammond, G.P., Jones, C.I. and Rogers, F.J., 2006. Greening the UK building stock: historic trends and low carbon futures 1970–2050. Proc. Second International Green Energy Conference (IGEC-2). 25–29 June 2006, Oshawa, Canada, p423–435.Google Scholar
  4. Brundtland. 1987. Our Common Future, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. World Commission on Environment and Development.Google Scholar
  5. Chapman, P., 1976. Methods of energy analysis. In Aspects of Energy Conversion(Blair I.M., Jones B.D. and Van Horn A.J. (eds.). Pergamon, Oxford, 739–757.Google Scholar
  6. Doughty, M.R.C. and Hammond, G.P., 2004. 0Sustainability and the built environment at and beyond the city scale, Building and Environment, 39(10): 1223–1233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eaton, K.J. and Amato, A., 1998. A Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Modern Office Buildings. The Steel Construction Institute, Berkshire. SCI Publication 182.Google Scholar
  8. Hammond, G.P., 2000. Energy, environment and sustainable development: a UK perspective. Trans IChemE Part B: Process Safety and Environmental Protection 78: 304– 323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hammond, G.P. and Jones, C.I., 2007. Benchmarks for embodied energy & carbon: domestic buildings. Proc. of the International Conference of the Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering 07 (SSEE 07), 31 October–2 November, Perth, Australia.Google Scholar
  10. Hammond, G.P. and Jones, C.I., 2008a. Embodied energy and carbon in construction materials, Proc. Instn Civil Engrs: Energy, 161 (2): 87–98. [DOI:10.1680/ener.2008.161.2.87].Google Scholar
  11. Hammond, G.P. and Jones, C.I., 2008b. ‘Inventory of Carbon and Energy’(ICE), Version 1.6a, Sustainable Energy Research Team (SERT), Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bath, Available from:
  12. Howard, N., Edwards, S. and Anderson, J., 1999. BRE Methodology for Environmental Profiles of Construction Materials, Components and Buildings. Report BR370, CRC, London.Google Scholar
  13. IFIAS. 1974. Report of Workshop on Energy Analysis, International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Studies, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  14. ISO. 2006a. Environmental management – Life Cycle Assessment – Principles and Framework. EN ISO 14040, International Standards Organization, Geneva, Second Edition.Google Scholar
  15. ISO. 2006b. Environmental Management – Life Cycle Assessment – Requirements and Guidelines. EN ISO 14044, International Standards Organization, Geneva.Google Scholar
  16. Loh, J. 2002. Living Planet Report 2002. WWF International, Gland, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  17. ODPM, 2001. English House Condition Survey. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, London, UK.Google Scholar
  18. Palmer, J., Boardman, B., Bottrill, C., Darby, S., Hinnells, M., Killip, G., Layberry, R. and Lovell, H., 2006. Reducing the Environmental Impact of Housing. Final Report. Consultancy study in support of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s 26th Report on the Urban Environment. Environmental Change Institute, Oxford.Google Scholar
  19. Rogers, R. 1997. Cities for a Small Planet, Faber and Faber, London.Google Scholar
  20. Slesser, M. 1978. Energy in the Economy, Macmillan Press, London.Google Scholar
  21. Treloar, G.J., Love, P.E.D., Faniran, O.O. and Iyer-Raniga, U., 2000. A hybrid life cycle assessment method for construction, Construction Management and Economics18 (1): 5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey P. Hammond
    • 1
  • Craig I. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BathBathUK

Personalised recommendations