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The addition of Whole Life Carbon (WLC) into Building Regulations would do for embodied carbon what Part L did for operational carbon. During the Climate Change Committee Progress Report to Parliament (June 2021) it was recommended that the government set out plans to phase in mandatory WLC reporting by 2025.

As methods and approaches for reducing operational emissions have become better understood, and as targets have become more stringent, these emissions are now beginning to make up a declining proportion of a development’s carbon emissions. Attention now needs to be focused on embodied carbon emissions, enabling a better understanding of the environmental impact of the proposed development.

Major projects in London are required to review their embodied carbon as part of a WLC assessment on their projects through the London Plan. Despite the significance of embodied carbon emissions these remain unregulated in the rest of the UK.

Without the right regulatory framework any progress made to reduce WLC emissions will be limited. The structure, tools and guidance are already in place so including these requirements into Building Regulations should be a smooth transition and should be encouraged if we’re to meet our 2050 climate targets.

Some in the industry have put forward their ideas on what Regulation could look like, but as yet, nothing has been issued by the Government.

We should, nonetheless, expect the Government to take this forward over the coming years, and take nationwide what some planning authorities are starting to require now.