Whole Life Carbon Assessment

An assessment of whole life carbon in a construction project looks at the emissions produced by a building over its useful life, and beyond.
Photo credit: Bouygues UK

An assessment of whole life carbon in a construction project looks at the emissions produced by a building over its useful life, and beyond. It considers the building’s fabric and services, and whether any of those components can go on to be used in other projects after the current one.

Our whole life carbon assessment service helps you to understand the overall environmental impact of your construction project. It not only identifies ways to reduce embodied carbon in the specification, but also looks at operational carbon and potential circular economy benefits that will lower the total emissions over the building’s life.

What is the difference between whole life and embodied carbon?

Carbon emissions are assessed across different stages of a product’s life cycle. A whole life assessment takes all those stages – and the different categories of carbon – into account, and therefore includes embodied carbon.

Embodied carbon typically refers to the ‘cradle to grave’ emissions of products and components used in the building, excluding operation carbon. It factors in the manufacturing stage (‘upfront’ carbon), use stage, and end of life stage.

‘Whole life’ carbon goes further, taking into account any carbon emitted through the running of building services, most notably electricity. Alongside these operational emissions, it also takes into account any circular economy benefits of the specified materials.

An assessment can be tailored to suit the requirements and goals of a project, looking at embodied or whole life carbon as necessary. While both are part of the same service, you might like to read our separate page about embodied carbon assessments.

Is whole life carbon part of national building regulations?

Calculating operational carbon (the emissions resulting from a building’s use by its occupants) is commonplace, not least because it forms part of building regulation compliance.

By contrast, legislation and regulation of the carbon associated with the materials and components that make up the building fabric and services, and the physical replacement and maintenance of those fabric and service elements, is a rapidly changing landscape.

A proof-of-concept ‘Proposed Document Z’ has been prepared by, and is being openly discussed within, the construction industry, to show how whole life carbon could be part of the Building Regulations. National regulation therefore seems inevitable, especially when many local authorities – spearheaded by the efforts of the Greater London Authority – now require particular assessments.

Several metrics exist against which a project can be benchmarked. These voluntary standards tend to set limits for the building’s embodied carbon, with the aim of using resources more efficiently in an industry that still operates as a mostly linear economy.

Assessing whole life carbon is an opportunity to look at circular economy benefits, as well as getting a complete picture of a building’s environmental impact over its entire life.


Whole life carbon assessment service offered by Darren Evans


By choosing Darren Evans’ whole life carbon assessment service, you’ll benefit from our extensive experience of working on sustainable, low energy and net zero projects.



  • We help you to identify your ideal outcome, working with you to understand which industry benchmarks and targets could serve you best.
  • Assessments are best done at the design stage, allowing us to have the maximum impact on your project. We help to shape the initial specification so that you’re working towards your goals as efficiently as possible.
  • Our expert team is on hand to provide advice and answer any questions, making sure your project stays on track for the final outcome.


Whole life carbon assessments help to meet targets and regional requirements that are not currently part of national building regulations. They complement other calculations and assessments from our extensive range of services, forming a complete package that delivers sustainability across your complete project. Please get in touch to discuss your project, wherever you are in your construction project, we'd love to support you.  


Send an enquiry or book an assessment for your project by using the contact form below.

Top tips

  1. Assessments that produce ‘bad’ results are nothing to be feared, as they provide an opportunity to change things for the better. Carrying out assessments early in a project offers the maximum opportunity to adjust specifications and evaluate the difference.
  2. Construction industry supply chains are not currently set up with whole life carbon in mind. By trying to address it in your project, you’re helping to create the change the industry needs.
  3. This is not currently part of building regulations, so there are a variety of targets and standards that aim to address embodied or whole life carbon. That can create more confusion than clarity, so working with experts like Darren Evans helps to define a goal that is right for you and your project.
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