Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Carbon and cost critical elements of office buildings: a case study.

Victoria, Michele; Perera, Srinath; Davies, Alan; Fernando, Nirodha


Srinath Perera

Alan Davies

Nirodha Fernando


Y.G. Sandanayake

G.I. Karunasena

T. Ramachandra


Buildings emit two types of carbon (and greenhouse gases) namely Operational Carbon (OC) and Embodied Carbon (EC). Operational carbon is regulated in the UK as it contributed up to 70-80% of total emissions. On the other hand, EC started gaining attention with the rise of zero carbon buildings and due to the fact that the EC is unregulated at present. However, estimating EC is not completely standardised and there is room for improvement. EC can be controlled only by vigilant building designs. Studying building closely will provide better understanding of the carbon significant elements and enable designers to make informed decisions. Accordingly, a case study of an office building located in London in the UK is selected for the study. Capital cost (CC) and EC estimates were prepared using detailed cost plan of the building. Then, the building elements were classified as per NRM1 (New Rules of Measurement 1) element classification and the most carbon and cost significant elements were identified in the case study building. Not all of the identified carbon significant elements are identified as cost significant but Substructure, Frame and Services are identified as both carbon and cost critical elements while Stairs and Ramps, Internal Doors and Fittings, Furnishings and Equipment were identified to be the least carbon and cost significant elements. Findings of the case study building inform designers about the elements that has a vast reduction potential and worth investing their time on experimenting. However, the findings are based on single case study and, hence, cannot be generalised but to be seen as an exemplar for further research.


VICTORIA, M., PERERA, S., DAVIES, A. and FERNANDO, N. 2016. Carbon and cost critical elements of office buildings: a case study. In Sandanayake, Y.G., Karunasena, G.I. and Ramachandra, T. (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th World construction symposium 2016: greening environment, eco-innovations and entrepreneurship, 29-31 July 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Colombo: University of Moratuwa [online], pages 106-114. Available from:

Conference Name 5th World construction symposium 2016
Conference Location Colombo, Sri Lanka
Start Date Jul 29, 2016
End Date Jul 31, 2016
Acceptance Date Jan 30, 2016
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2016
Publication Date Jul 31, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2018
Print ISSN 2362-0919
Publisher University of Moratuwa
Pages 106-114
Series ISSN 2362-0919
Keywords Carbon hotspots; Capital cost; Cost hotspots; Embodied carbon; Office building
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations