The current regulations to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from buildings have focused on operational energy consumption. Thus legislation excludes measurement and reduction of the embodied energy and embodied GHG emissions over the building life cycle. Embodied impacts are a significant and growing proportion and it is increasingly recognized that the focus on reducing operational energy consumption needs to be accompanied by a parallel focus on reducing embodied impacts. Over the last six years the Annex 57 has addressed this issue, with researchers from 15 countries working together to develop a detailed understanding of the multiple calculation methods and the interpretation of their results. Based on an analysis of 80 case studies, Annex 57 showed various inconsistencies in current methodological approaches, which inhibit comparisons of results and difficult development of robust reduction strategies. Reinterpreting the studies through an understanding of the methodological differences enabled the cases to be used to demonstrate a number of important strategies for the reduction of embodied impacts. Annex 57 has also produced clear recommendations for uniform definitions and templates which improve the description of system boundaries, completeness of inventory and quality of data, and consequently the transparency of embodied impact assessments.
- Design process
- Embodied energy
- Embodied greenhouse gas emissions
- System boundaries
- Life cycle assessment