Arup announces international dataset of whole life carbon emissions for buildings at COP27

News Detail






  • Arup has built an international dataset of whole life carbon emissions for buildings; calculating emissions for almost 1,000 projects across 30 nations and 5 continents
  • This data has allowed Arup to estimate its ‘carbon handprint’; quantifying the scale of emissions arising from its global building design project portfolio as approximately 350 times greater than its organisational carbon footprint
  • At COP27, Arup has announced its ambition to use insights it is gaining from whole life carbon data to set the ambition to achieve the UN High Level Climate Champions’ Breakthrough Outcome for the Built Environment, which calls for drastic reductions in the operational and embodied carbon emissions of buildings by 2030


An international dataset capturing total forecast emissions – whole life carbon (WLC) – for buildings in design has been created by Arup, a global sustainable development consultancy. WLC data from almost 1,000 building design projects across 30 nations on 5 continents have been collected and analysed by Arup using its new software platform, Zero.

This work has been driven by Arup’s commitment to assess its global building design project portfolio using WLC techniques, announced in 2021 at COP26. Arup’s focus on WLC has allowed it to estimate emissions arising from its global building design project portfolio. The ‘carbon handprint’ for the firm’s building design work is estimated to be 350 times greater than its organisational carbon footprint (Scopes 1, 2 and 3).

The scale of carbon emissions associated with the delivery of Arup’s building design expertise has reinforced the firm’s commitment to collect and analyse WLC data. This data represents a primary metric to drive better decision making by property investors, building owners, designers, construction firms, and regulators. It allows carbon emission reduction options across building subsystems and lifespans to be identified and compared. Initial insights from Zero data have offered new, industry-relevant detail about the embodied carbon profile across building sub-systems. Arup is also developing a whole life carbon-based approach for the decarbonisation of infrastructure projects.

More info

Want to stay up to date?

Sign up to our mailing list to receive regular updates on the most exciting news, research, case studies, and events related to sustainable design.