The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the UK estimates that 35% of the lifecycle carbon from a typical office development is emitted before the building is opened, and the figure for residential premises is 51%.
RICS says the calculations suggest it will be decades before some new buildings pay back their carbon debt by saving more emissions than they created.
Embodied carbon regulation is the concept of limiting the emissions that result from the manufacturing, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings. This is currently unregulated in the UK, which is described by climate change groups as a “huge blind spot” within current building standards.
RICS says architecture schools in the UK are not imparting basic carbon literacy skills, thereby failing both their students and the public. To make this happen, architectural education needs an overhaul.
“After five years in formal education, architectural graduates are entering the workplace unaware of the severity of the climate emergency, and without the technical know-how to tackle it.
“Essential knowledge now needs to be embedded within curriculums, educating on the environmental impact of architectural practice and the wider construction industry. We believe teaching around environmental design must be incorporated into every module, utterly normalising it and removing its specialist status.”