Carbon emission UK buildings

This included 91 projects, from 12 sectors, across 11 offices in the UK.

Carbon emission UK buildings

Using our in-house carbon calculator* we began to quantify the emissions of our projects, and have been collecting that data into a growing database.

The image below shows the projects arranged according to gross internal area (GIA). Through this data we are starting to find trends and relationships that are informing future design decisions.

Carbon emission UK buildings

We have been able to plot our results against the main industry values. This is giving us a better understanding of the challenges we are facing for each type of building.

Carbon emission UK buildings

We also developed a methodology to compare all projects using similar criteria, measuring carbon emissions (A1 to A5) consistently across projects. The mean results are included below. 

For Residential and Offices, they show that most of our projects are already achieving the 2020 target recommended by LETI**. This is more than 40% lower than the industry ‘business as usual’ benchmark.

WSP calculates carbon in UK building

 Mean results across different sector types from 2020 new build benchmark

 

 

This is a significant milestone in our journey to halving the carbon footprint in our designs and advice. These results are something so be proud of but they also present two challenges: 

1. Our commitment is to reduce them to 50%. This is much more that the industry target for 2030.
2. As mean values, there are some projects performing better, while some are not. 

Next steps
Our next step is to understand the particular of each project so we can replicate our successes and learn from our shortcomings. For example, for residential buildings the mean is 289; our best performing building gave 176; but we also have one building at 647. Understanding how the lowest values were achieved will help us drive emission downs and reduce those higher values. Understanding the context in which high carbon buildings happen will help us address those challenges and reduce emission. This is a great opportunity to define what the buildings of the future will look like, today.

Carbon emission UK buildings

Snapshot of minimum results from 2020 new build benchmark

Carbon emission UK buildings

Snapshot of mean results from 2020 new build benchmark

Carbon emission UK buildings

 Snapshot of maximum results from 2020 new build benchmark

 

(*) developed following the guidance produced by the IStructE 
(**) Structure is considered 65% of the upfront carbon values by LETI