Estimating Embodied Carbon Emissions of Buildings in Developing Countries: A Case Study from Sri Lanka

Amalka Ranathungage, Zaid Alwan, Nirodha Fernando, Barry Gledson

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Even with the increasing attention on reduction of Embodied Carbon (EC) emissions in the global built environment sector, yet most of the developing countries focus only on reduction of Operational Carbon (OC) through improved operational energy performance. The significance of EC estimation and reduction in buildings in these countries are yet to be fully realised. Therefore, this paper provides a case study of an office building located in Western province in Sri Lanka, which is used as a drive to identify the potential for estimating EC emissions of buildings in developing countries. Accordingly, the estimation was carried out confining to the cradle to gate system boundary and structural elements of a building. The estimation process revealed that the EC estimation is a challenging process for a developing country like Sri Lanka as it encountered many challenges such as lack of accurate and up to date EC co-efficient for building materials, time consuming and work intensive nature of estimation, difficulty in choosing a system boundary and unavailability of an appropriate estimation tool. The case study findings revealed that the total structural elemental EC emission per gross floor area is 191.11 kgCO2/m2. Similar to many previous studies, it was identified that the top most EC intensive element of this building is also substructure. However, this study was carried out as a pilot study of a further research and can be extended to incorporate all the elements of the building to provide an accurate value for the overall and elemental EC emissions
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2018
Event4th Annual Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society (SEEDS) Conference: Enabling Sustainability: Impacting all stakeholders - Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 6 Sept 20187 Sept 2018


Conference4th Annual Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society (SEEDS) Conference
Abbreviated titleSEEDS Conference 2018
Internet address


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