Studies on building carbon emissions focus mainly on the materialization phase of life cycle, as carbon emissions in this stage is intensive and high. This paper proposes a simplified model to calculate embodied carbon emissions in building design stage by conducting a process-based inventory analysis of carbon emissions from materials used in 129 residential buildings, 41 office buildings, and 21 commercial buildings during materialization phase. The results indicate that average carbon emissions per unit area from building materials used in residential buildings, office buildings, and commercial buildings are 514.66 kgCO2e/m2, 533.69 kgCO2e/m2 and 494.19 kgCO2e/m2, respectively. Besides, ten kinds of building materials (namely, steel, commercial concrete, wall building materials, mortar, copper core cables, architectural ceramics, PVC pipes, thermal insulation materials, doors and windows, and water paint) constitute 99% of total carbon emissions in all three types of buildings. These materials are major carbon emissions sources in materialization phase. Thus, embodied carbon emissions can be significantly reduced by limiting the amount of these materials in architectural design as well as by using environmental friendly materials.

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