Mapping embodied environmental requirements of urban building stocks

The energy associated with the construction and operation of buildings could represent more than 50% of the total energy demand (Anderson et al. 2015) and associated environmental impacts. Reducing building energy use and related environmental impacts is therefore critical in order to mitigate climate change and global warming at both the city and global scales (IPCC 2014).

However, current spatial decision support systems often do not consider embodied environmental impacts and focus mostly on building operational energy, e.g. Howard et al. (2012).

The aim of this project is to integrate building embodied energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions and materials into a graphical information system in order to inform future city planning and management decisions that will help reduce the environmental impact of the built environment.

The project combines the advanced hybrid life cycle assessment approach, graphical information systems and an advanced computer model to quantify embodied requirements in the City of Melbourne. The bottom-up approach, starting with building materials, combining these into typical assemblies and then estimating the bill of material quantities based on the characteristics of each building, provides a unique level of disaggregation and detail.


Anderson, J.E., Wulfhorst, G. and Lang, W. (2015) Energy analysis of the built environment—A review and outlook. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 44 (0):149-158.

Howard, B., Parshall, L., Thompson, J., Hammer, S., Dickinson, J. and Modi, V. (2012) Spatial distribution of urban building energy consumption by end use. Energy and Buildings 45 (0):141-151.

IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: mitigation of climate change. Contribution of working group III to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. edited by Edenhofer, O., Pichs-Madruga, R., Sokona, Y., Minx, J.C., Farahani, E., Kadner, S., Seyboth, K., Adler, A., Baum, I., Brunner, S., Eickemeier, P., Kriemann, B., Savolainen, J., Schlömer, S., Stechow, C.v. and Zwickel, T. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Project details


Dr André Stephan
Aristide Athanassiadis