Assessing Embodied Carbon in buildings……

Understanding how much Embodied Carbon generated in construction is essential in our efforts to reduce carbon in our designs and Manhire Associates are now using BIM to help assess embodied carbon in buildings.

Our Production Team have been assessing material volume and weight data on projects for some time now with the quantities extracted directly from BIM models. Our Building Technology Team have developed a reporting tool that generates Material Quantity Reports that enables designs to be appraised quickly and easily. As well as providing Material Quantity Reports at key stages of the design, we are now advising on embodied carbon and how embodied carbon can be reduced.

Our Embodied Carbon Reports follow the principles set out in the Institution of Structural Engineers Guide published recently. The guide aims to standardize the approach so that carbon can be calculated in the same rigorous way for all designs and materials to ensure that meaningful comparisons can be made. This will help to identify how we can most effectively reduce carbon so that we can develop and implement more effective carbon reduction strategies.

A recent example is Edyn’s Turing Locke Hotel in Cambridge. By adopting a number of different strategies aimed at reducing materials, waste and lowering carbon, our team were able to save 760 tonnes of carbon just by selecting lower carbon concrete mixes. 

Some of the carbon reducing strategies adopted on the project are:

  • selecting lower carbon concrete mixes
  • optimising foundation and frame designs so that the reinforced concrete fame elements required just 894 tonnes of reinforcement, giving an average of just 119 kg of reinforcement specified for each m3 concrete
  • use of recycled steel – 876 tonnes of re-cycled steel were used in the manufacture of the reinforcement
  • local sourcing of aggregates from nearby Needingworth Quarry, just 16 miles away

At the Needingworth Quarry, Hanson are working with the RSPB to create what will be the largest man-made wetland in the United Kingdom. Over a 30 year time frame, the sand and gravel quarry is being transformed into the Ouse Fen Nature Reserve.

To find out more about our approach and the carbon reducing strategies we adopted on Edyn’s Turing Locke, please contact Ganesh at

Assessing Embodied Carbon in buildings……
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