How to calculate the embodied carbon of facades: A methodology

With the emphasis in recent decades on reducing the operational carbon emissions from buildings, embodied carbon is becoming more significant, and there is an increasing shift in focus towards embodied carbon assessment.  This now requires more detailed quantification to better understand emissions and how they can be most effectively reduced. This is key as we move towards ‘net-zero’ buildings.  

The complexity associated with calculating the embodied carbon of facade systems should not be underestimated.  Furthermore, a consistent methodology is vital if we want to better understand the contribution that our facades make, be able to compare different options, quantify improvements and set targets.

This guide aims to support the facade and cladding industry in reducing the whole-life carbon emissions of their designs. To achieve this aim, this guide provides practitioners with the knowledge to quantify embodied carbon emissions of facade systems.

At the time of publication there remains many data gaps that limit the accuracy of the assessment of facade systems. In publication of this guide, it is intended to draw the focus of the industry to address these limitations. Where appropriate this guide presents default assumptions to address data gaps and in doing so provides a degree of consistency.

It is intended that this document will be updated over time to reflect the latest knowledge and experience in the field of whole life carbon assessment of facade and cladding systems.

February 2023 update - following feedback, a worked example calculation following the methodology is now available to download via the link below.