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MECLA Spotlight on Designing out Carbon

The building and construction industry accounts for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions. Embodied Carbon represents a significant part of the overall carbon emissions of this industry and with improvements in energy efficiency to be expected over the next couple of decades, the share of embodied carbon will only increase.  

Design decisions can have a massive impact on the embodied carbon of any construction project, from the concept stages to the construction itself – for example through decisions in the planning and designing phases of a building or infrastructure (i.e. building less, building clever), the material selection phase (i.e. specifying materials with strong sustainability certifications and building out waste), the construction phase, as well as the beyond building (re-use, recovery and recycling) phase. 

Clever design decisions have the potential to assist greatly with decarbonising our construction and built environment industry, alongside all other measure to reduce embodied carbon in this sector, for example through furthering the development and manufacturing of innovative building materials, and getting organisations and governments to add carbon as a deciding factor in decisions related to buildings and infrastructure (alongside cost, quality and time).