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Understand your development’s embodied carbon emissions with a whole lifecycle carbon assessment

Specialist guidance on calculating and reducing carbon emissions.

  • Assess and limit embodied carbon emissions

  • Incorporate efficient and cost-effective measures to reduce emissions

  • Deliver on planning policy or employer requirements

  • Demonstrate ESG credentials


As the UK works to reduce carbon emissions, the impact of whole life cycle carbon is becoming increasingly important.

A whole lifecycle assessment offers an assessment of the emissions generated during a building’s construction, use and end-of-life.

Our whole lifecycle assessment service supports developers to gain greater insight into emissions. We advise on measures that are achievable, carbon efficient and cost-effective in limiting whole life emissions.

Life cycle reporting fulfils regulatory requirements from planning authorities and the London Plan. It can also demonstrating developers’ wider environmental or ESG commitment, or support securing a BREEAM credit.

What will a whole lifecycle carbon assessment cover?

A whole lifecycle carbon assessment (WLC or LCA) looks at materials, methods of construction, day-to-day energy requirements and end-of-life opportunities for management of building components. WLCs consider both embodied and operational carbon – covering works from raw material extract through to construction techniques (embodied) and lifetime energy needs of a completed building (operational).


Our whole lifecycle assessment service:

  • Pre-planning report – Addressing the principles of life cycle carbon to be adopted across the development. Agreeing established benchmarks (from the local planning authority, RICS and/or LETI) and outlining how these will be met, or improved upon. Establishing realistic timelines to receive information from the design team on the proposed materials and quantities, reducing the risk of delays.
  • Design analysis – Reviewing estimated emissions across a site during construction stage, according to the principles and measures set out at planning stage and within design intent. Making calculations using modelling software, One Click LCA. Providing accurate information for both developer and end-client to understand the whole life implications of design decisions. Recommending solutions and adaptations that will improve the carbon performance of the development.
  • Completion analysis – Ensuring commitments have been delivered on. Some local planning authorities (LPAs) condition a full completion analysis, while some developers complete this voluntarily to deliver a comprehensive, accurate WLC.

At each stage, we review: raw material extract, including how products are sourced, transported and constructed; day-to-day energy requirements of a building once complete; reconfiguration or deconstruction for how easily a building can be processed at end-of-use; and recovery, reuse or recycling of materials at end-of-life.

We take a project-wide view of any whole lifecycle assessment, including:

  • Aligning all recommendations with project parameters and ensuring solutions are coordinated with other regulatory requirements.
  • Making clear where calculations for environmental benefits are definite, potential or forecast.

Does my development need a whole lifecycle carbon assessment?

Many local planning authorities (LPAs) now mandate a whole lifecycle assessment (WLC) within planning applications for new buildings and redevelopments of existing properties. Across London, assessments are a stipulation of the London Plan Policy SI 2.

Where a project is set to replace an existing building, the LPA may request two reviews, to compare emissions associated with refurbishing the existing site with emissions from delivering an entirely new development.

A life cycle assessment will also fulfil credits under Mat 1 of a BREEAM scheme, provided it is completed prior to planning submission.

Since embodied carbon contributes so greatly to a development’s emissions, more and more developers are voluntarily completing WLCs too. This can help to fulfil ESG commitments to drive down carbon emissions over time as well as deliver longer-term reputational benefits.


Supporting through the planning stage

c.1,300 apartments & c.50,000sqft commercial space supported through planning stage, working to RIBA 1-3. Developed comprehensive sustainability-led design principles; produced collaboratively through early-stage circular economy and whole lifecycle carbon assessments workshops. Delivered long-term solutions to future-proof ongoing development – due for completion by 2030.

Start early to maximise the benefits of a whole lifecycle carbon assessment.

Understanding carbon assessment measures:

  • Embodied carbon covers a building’s emissions during construction. This calculates the impact of both raw material extract and material manufacture, and construction techniques. It can also calculate the impact of opportunities to later reconfigure a building, and reuse or recycle components or materials when a building is deconstructed.
  • Operational carbon looks at the emissions generated during the operational lifetime of a building. This looks at the energy required to power, heat, cool and light a building.

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