With the world having turned its attention to the COVID-19 Pandemic, other important issues may not have had the same levels of attention as they should or would have prior to the crisis.
As a result of the lockdown, there has been a noticeable drop in carbon emissions in London, a fall that has also been recorded in the UK’s 25 largest cities where congestion levels have dropped by an average of 57% – from 73% to 16%. Put simply, fewer vehicles are using major artery routes, motorways and thoroughfares. What remains unclear though is how buildings are also contributing to this shift in carbon footprint.
Despite the outbreak, there are early and encouraging signs that the construction and engineering sectors are starting to resume certain day-to-day activities. With this in mind, it is particularly timely and appropriate that new and improved guidance to assessing carbon emissions is implemented.
Whole Life-Cycle Carbon (WLC) emissions are the carbon emissions resulting from construction and the use of a building over its entire life, including its eventual demolition and disposal. Effectively WLC acts as a litmus test of the building’s health and carbon impact on the environment.
Hilson Moran are proud to support the work of the Greater London Authority (GLA) in this area. Following the London Plan WLC policy workshop in December 2019, we provided the necessary building carbon emissions data to be cross-referenced with WLC benchmarks. Using our project data, the GLA was able to identify the carbon emissions at completion stage and over the life of individual or multiple building projects.
To further the scale of the research, the report also subdivided data into several distinct categories including substructure, superstructure, finishes, services and external works. This information all fed into the draft GLA pre-consultation report, published earlier this month. The document will serve as an important tool in all planning applications referred to the Mayor as they must include a WLC assessment. It will be formally consulted on post publication of the London Plan, which is now being finalised