Database of Embodied Quantity Outputs: Lowering Material Impacts Through Engineering

Catherine De Wolf, Endrit Hoxha, Alexander Hollberg, Corentin Fivet, John Ochsendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current studies and performance labels focus mainly on the operational energy demand of buildings due to heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and hot water, but they rarely account for embodied impacts. Performing a life cycle assessment (LCA) on an entire building structure, let alone a building, requires time and data, both of which are often lacking for practitioners in the construction industry. Limited knowledge on the embodied carbon equivalent of building structures led to the benchmarking effort of the database of embodied quantity outputs (DEQO), developed by the first author over the last 6 years in close collaboration with industry and academia. DEQO collects material quantities for existing buildings in a robust way directly from industry. This paper presents the lessons learned from this database to define the next steps for structural engineers to lower the environmental impacts related to the material quantities in their projects. To create confidence and comparability in the results, recommendations are given such as implementing uncertainty analysis into practice to avoid inaccurate comparisons with a false sense of precision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04020016
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Fields of Expertise

  • Sustainable Systems


Dive into the research topics of 'Database of Embodied Quantity Outputs: Lowering Material Impacts Through Engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this