Embodied Carbon takes a lead in discussions at Education Estates

Stephen Beggs
Stephen Beggs on 19th Oct 2023


Have the construction industry and the education sector turned a corner in our approach to embodied carbon? Quite possibly.

After decades of reporting on the effects of climate change by the IPCC, 2020-30 had to be the decade of action, and this was reflected in the interesting discussions that took place at this year’s Education Estates Conference.

I gave a presentation on how embodied carbon can be used as a metric for taking decisions on retrofit and, for the first time, it almost felt like it was a mainstream discussion. I did an introductory presentation on carbon at this conference a couple of years ago, but in just two years it has gone from being a fringe topic to one that’s being discussed widely now: whether in new-build school studies or as part of HE estate decarbonisation strategies.

The debate is now more widespread and understood – dare we hope that we’ve turned a corner?

At Curtins, we continue to measure and upload carbon to our Curtins database – 250 projects and counting – giving us the data to use carbon as a currency for discussions with our clients and project partners. Pleasingly, councils are starting to discuss embodied carbon targets in relation to their Local Plans, government is considering binding targets, and legislation gets ever closer. Let’s keep the debate going: we’ve still got lots to do. 

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