Embodied Carbon and Construction Cost Differences between Hong Kong and Melbourne Buildings
Limiting the amount of embodied carbon in buildings can help minimize the damaging impacts of global warming through lower upstream emission of CO2. This study empirically investigates the embodied carbon footprint of new-build and refurbished buildings in both Hong Kong and Melbourne to determine the embodied carbon profile and its relationship to both embodied energy and construction cost. The Hong Kong findings suggest that mean embodied carbon for refurbished buildings is 33-39% lower than new-build projects, and the cost for refurbished buildings is 22-50% lower than new-build projects (per square metre of floor area). The Melbourne findings, however, suggest that mean embodied carbon for refurbished buildings is 4% lower than new-build projects, and the cost for refurbished buildings is 24% higher than new-build projects (per square metre of floor area). Embodied carbon ranges from 645-1,059 kgCO2e/m2 for new-build and 294-655 kgCO2e/m2 for refurbished projects in Hong Kong, and 1,138-1,705 kgCO2e/m2 for new-build and 900-1,681 kgCO2e/m2 for refurbished projects in Melbourne. The reasons behind these locational discrepancies are explored and critiqued. Overall, a very strong linear relationship between embodied energy and construction cost in both cities was found and can be used to predict the former, given the latter.
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