Celebrating 5 Years of our Carbon Calculator

Piotr Berebecki
As the demand to address the challenges of measuring embodied carbon continues to grow, we celebrate the 5th anniversary of our free online construction carbon calculator - now updated to calculate embodied carbon emissions.

Hosted on our website, the carbon calculator allows industry professionals to evaluate sustainable options at the earliest stages of construction. It was originally developed to help deliver a low carbon solution for schools for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

Along the way we have updated the calculator to display embodied carbon emissions, a concept we have embraced at Faithful+Gould and which is just as important to measure as operational carbon emissions. Operational and embodied carbon work hand in hand. Acquiring a complete understanding of both allows design teams and consultants to create the best design plans and specifications for a low carbon building.

The carbon calculator has allowed a whole new audience of technical experts to assess the relative cost benefits and risks of low carbon techniques and technology; agreeing budget-plausible design targets in the process.

Our project managers regularly use the tool to ensure we are at the forefront of sustainable consultancy, utilising cutting-edge tools to provide our clients with added value. Our focus has always been to lead the way in providing sustainable solutions and boost the green credentials of the industry.

Measuring embodied carbon allows owners and occupiers to easily understand and compare the carbon value of different buildings.

Current legislation addresses the reduction of operational emissions as a way of achieving ‘zero carbon’ but fails to account for the embodied carbon required to make a building. As the construction industry accounts for 40% of total UK carbon emissions, there is a growing demand by the government and industry leaders to address the challenges of measuring embodied carbon.

The Chief Construction Advisor, Paul Morrell set the industry a challenge to develop a methodology and data for carbon. In response to this, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) have commissioned Faithful+Gould to address the issues of calculating embodied carbon, in the production of a standard methodology. This has culminated in the publication of an embodied carbon guidance of which we are the lead authors. This makes Faithful+Gould an industry expert at the forefront of this initiative.

Measuring embodied carbon allows owners and occupiers to easily understand and compare the carbon value of different buildings. This can then be fed into any option appraisal with respect to, for example, refurbishing a building or building it from scratch. For many of the projects we have undertaken, it is cost effective to reduce a project’s embodied carbon by 30% through using less materials, substituting high carbon materials with low carbon ones, using higher levels of recycled content and materials which last longer. These interventions often lead to cost savings. Our work with Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) in adopting a resource efficient approach to construction reduced the capital costs on projects by 1%.

We are investing in our staff to provide clients with prime consulting that puts them a step ahead of their competitors on both a legislative and cost efficient level.

Our aim is to include embodied carbon reporting as part of every client’s cost plan. Faithful+Gould staff are being trained in the field to ensure that they are prepared to advise clients on any queries they may have.

We remain at the forefront of this initiative through our expert knowledge and the collaborative work we have done with RICS. We are investing in our staff to provide clients with prime consulting that puts them a step ahead of their competitors on both a legislative and cost efficient level.