BESA wants more focus on addressing embodied carbon challenges


THE Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has revealed it is marking World Environment Day on June 5 by highlighting that the built environment still contributes more than 40% of total global carbon emissions.

The association said that while regulations, greater use of renewables, and improved product performance have all contributed to a steady fall in operational carbon, embodied carbon remains ‘big blot’ on the horizon.

BESA has welcomed calls from the parliamentary environmental audit committee for mandatory whole life carbon assessments and priority to be given to retrofit and reuse of buildings.

The assessment would calculate the emissions from the construction, maintenance, and demolition of a building, and from the energy used in its day-to-day operation. Holland and France already have mandatory whole-life carbon assessments for their built environment.

Graeme Fox, BESA’s head of technical, said, “Working out the embodied carbon of a building’s structure has never been straightforward, but it is a walk in the park compared with the calculations needed to assess the embodied carbon of building services because of the complexity of our industry’s supply chains and technologies.

“That is why building clients often take the path of least resistance and opt for some sort of ‘statement’ carbon reduction measure like a bolt-on renewable rather than digging too deeply into the maths needed to address the embodied carbon that would make a much bigger difference.”