Carbon Footprint of Buildings

Date: August 1, 2018

thinkstep New Zealand in the Build Magazine.

Carbon Footprint of Buildings

By Jeff Vickers, Technical Director and Ben Fisher, Sustainability Engineer, thinkstep.

Using a life-cycle approach shows the carbon footprint of our built environment is much greater than is usually quoted. Including materials is important as the push to limit carbon emissions intensifies.

A recent study, "The carbon footprint of New Zealand’s built environment – hotspot or not?", found buildings, roads and other infrastructure are responsible for nearly 13% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is far greater than the 2–5% that is widely quoted. This share climbs to 20% when the GHG emissions embodied in exported products, such as dairy, and imported products, such as cars, are considered.

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