British Architects Are Talking About Embodied Carbon

credit: Waugh Thistleton Architects/ Photo Daniel Shearing

Perhaps people are beginning to get the importance of this issue.

Here's a really interesting interview put together by Edward Bishop for Architects' Journal, titled, "Why does whole-life carbon matter for architects?"

Most of them do talk about whole-life carbon, the full life-cycle analysis. I have been trying to make the case that we should Forget about Life-Cycle Analyses, we don't have time. I have also suggested that we should rename "Embodied Carbon" to "Upfront Carbon Emissions" because that is what really matters.

But one of the participants, Hero Bennett of Max Fordham, an environmental engineering firm, nails the message I have been trying to say (at 35 seconds in):

[Embodied carbon] is massive because we've got 12 years to do something about climate change. And what that really means is that embodied carbon is actually more important than operating carbon from the point of view of actually stopping climate change, and architects have a really important role in actually making a difference.

YES. She is certainly my new Hero. She tells me, "I've been saying this for years and it feels like people are now finally starting to listen." Anyone who builds anything without taking this into account is really not being serious about dealing with climate change.

Anthony Thistleton

Anthony Thistleton/ Photo Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Stick around to the end and listen to TreeHugger favourite Anthony Thistleton, who ends the video by saying, "Architects have a responsibility, as key agents within the procurement of the building, to do something about it."