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MECLA Spotlight on Building Services

Building services are an often underappreciated aspect of the embodied carbon conversation. HVAC, refrigeration, fire safety, escalators, lifts, and lighting account for significant upfront embodied carbon in a building, and an even larger portion of the whole-of-life embodied carbon of an asset because of maintenance. Collectively, building services represent around 15% of the upfront carbon in commercial buildings and 30% of the whole-of-life embodied carbon.

The complex range of materials and manufacturing processes that are involved in building services complicate the carbon calculations related to products, and the relationship between embodied and operational emissions means a holistic view must always be taken to optimise carbon savings. A more comprehensive conversation about building services and carbon is developing in Australia, driven by methodologies such as TM65, which is incorporated into Green Star’s Responsible Products and Upfront Carbon framework, and companies are innovating to deliver carbon reductions.

Kindly hosted by Aurecon Group in their offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, the MECLA Spotlight on Building Services brought industry together to engage the embodied carbon and building services conversation.



 Key Takeaways:

  • Refrigerant leakage has a high embodied carbon impact on building services
  • Building services have to be considered in the whole of life of a building, with maintenance and repair
  • Operational and embodied carbon of building services also have trade offs, proper modelling and planning can save total emissions when viewed hollistically
  • Decarbonising building services is a complex process because of all of the intricate component parts that make up products, however, by starting with the supply chains for the main materials used – copper, steel, and aluminium – steps can be made in the right direction