1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Embodied Carbon in the Built Environment

Edited By Rahman Azari, Alice Moncaster Copyright 2024
    486 Pages 144 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook explores the critically important topic of embodied carbon, providing advanced insights that focus on measuring and reducing embodied carbon from across the built environment, including buildings, urban areas and cities, and construction materials and components.

    Split into five distinct sections, international experts, researchers, and professionals present the recent developments in the field of embodied carbon from various perspectives and at different scales of material, building, and city. Following an introduction to the embodied carbon question, the chapters in Section 1 then cover the key debates around issues such as the politics of embodied carbon, links between embodied carbon and thermal mass, and the misuse of carbon offsets. Section 2 reviews the embodied carbon policies in a selected number of countries. Sections 3, 4, and 5 approach the topic of embodied carbon from urban-, building-, and material-scale perspectives, respectively, and use case studies to demonstrate estimation techniques and present opportunities and challenges in embodied carbon mitigation.

    This will be important reading for upper-level students and researchers in Architecture, Urban Planning, Engineering, and Construction disciplines. Presenting case studies of embodied carbon assessment, this book will also help practicing architects, engineers, and urban planners understand embodied carbon estimation techniques and different mitigation strategies.

    SECTION 1: Introduction: The embodied carbon questions and debates

    1. Introduction to this handbook - the question of embodied carbon

    Rahman Azari and Alice Moncaster

    2. Minimising embodied carbon: A question of politics, not percentages

    Alice Moncaster

    3. Climate-neutral and circular built environment - right here, right now -

    Guillaume Habert

    4. Net zero in buildings and construction: Use and misuse of carbon offsets

    Barnardino D’Amico and Francecso Pomponi

    5. Characterization of links between embodied carbon and thermal mass

    Matan Mayer and Jonathan Grinham

    SECTION 2: Embodied decarbonization, approaches and policies

    6. Introduction to Section 2: National and international approaches to and policies for decarbonisation

    Alice Moncaster and Rahman Azari

    7. Embodied decarbonization in North America: A paradigm shift

    Rahman Azari

    8. Embodied carbon in building regulation – development and implementation in Finland, Sweden and Denmark

    Freja Nygaard Rasmussen, Harpa Birgisdottir, Tove Malmqvist, Matti Kuttinen and Tarja Hakkinen

    9. Global carbon budgets for the built environment: How far are we to achieve a 1.5°C limit in global warming? A Swiss example 

    Y.D. Priore, G. Habert and T. Jusselme

    10. The Levels framework and the Life Levels project: Developing common and national approaches to embodied carbon in European countries

    Borja Izaola

    11. Embodied emissions - knowledge building for industry

    Aoife Houlihan Wiberg, Ben James, Alice Moncaster, Freja Nygaard, Rasmussen, Tove Malmqvist and Harpa Birgisdottir

    SECTION 3: Urban scale perspectives

    12. Introduction to Section 3: Embodied carbon and urban scale perspectives
    Rahman Azari and Alice Moncaster

    13. Approaches and system boundaries for urban carbon accounts

    Klaus Hubacek, Yuli Shan and Shaoqing Chen

    14. Quantifying the sunk carbon costs of cities: A case-study of 50 years of construction in Odense, Denmark

    Srinivasa Raghavendra Bhuvan Gummidi, Benjamin P. Goldstein, Joshua L. Sohn, Maud Lanau, Morten Birkved, and Gang Liu

    15. Embodied GHG in transportation infrastructure

    Shoshanna Saxe and Bradley Kloostra

     SECTION 4: Building Scale Perspectives

    16. Introduction to Section 4: Embodied carbon and building scale perspectives

    Rahman Azari and Alice Moncaster

    17. Life cycle assessment applied to the eco-design of urban projects in France

    Bruno Peuportier and Patrick Schalbart

    18. Climate and resource footprint assessment in building information modelling: A method and indicators

    Husam Sameer, Clemens Mostert and Stefan Bringezu

    19. Achieving social justice and environmental justice in safe affordable housing through a materials-centered, multi-level, transdisciplinary approach

    Giulia Celentano, Esther Obonyo and Guillaume Habert

    20. Embodied carbon and building retrofit; a heritage example

    Freya Wise, Alice Moncaster and Derek Jones

    SECTION 5: Material scale perspectives

    21. Introduction to Section 5: Embodied carbon and material scale perspectives

    Alice Moncaster and Rahman Azari 

    22. Real and apparent variations in embodied carbon impacts provided in EPD for construction products

    Jane Anderson and Derek Jones

    23. Three windows: Accounting for embodied resources and cultural value

    Lynette Widder and Christoph Meinrenken 

    24. Embodied carbon in biogenic and earth materials: Accounting for the work of the biogeosphere in construction materials

    William W. Braham, Miaomiao Hou, Suryakiran Prabhakaran and David Tilley

    25. Farm to building: Catalyzing the use of natural, net-zero, and healthier building materials

    Lola Ben-Alon


    Rahman Azari, PhD., is an architect, Associate Professor of architecture, and Director of the Resource and Energy Efficiency [RE2] Lab at the Pennsylvania State University (USA). Azari is also affiliated with the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE), the Hamer Center for Community Design, and the Stuckeman Center for Design Computation (SCDC). Azari’s research on carbon-neutral buildings and cities has been supported by research grants from the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH), and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

    Alice Moncaster, PhD., is a civil and structural engineer by background, whose work in industry has strongly influenced her subsequent career in academia. From July 2023 she is Professor of Sustainable Construction at the University of the West of England, and retains visiting positions at her two previous institutions, the Open University, and the University of Cambridge. She has been one of the UK experts for the International Energy Agency Annexes 57, 72, and 89 working with colleagues from around the world on developing a better understanding of embodied and whole life carbon of buildings, and on its implementation into policy and industry practice.