Whole-of-Life Embodied Carbon Assessment: Technical Methodology

Last updated: 21 December 2023

This page contains the proposed methodology for assessing the whole-of-life embodied carbon of a building.


New Zealand has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, excluding biogenic methane, by 2050. Achieving this goal will require transformative change in many sectors of the economy – including building and construction, which is responsible for a significant proportion of New Zealand’s total GHG emissions.

In 2020 the Building for Climate Change Programme consulted the building and construction sector on proposals to introduce mandatory reporting requirements and eventually caps for the whole-of-life embodied carbon and operational carbon of buildings. Feedback from sector indicated support for these proposals, and identified that the biggest perceived barrier to undertaking embodied carbon assessments was the lack of an agreed methodology.

The aim of this methodology

This document sets out a proposed methodology for assessing the embodied carbon of new buildings in New Zealand.

It is intended to support the consistency of embodied carbon assessments of buildings in New Zealand, enabling early adopters to incorporate the methodology in their own processes. It is also intended to introduce embodied carbon assessments to those parts of the sector that may be less familiar with the concepts.

Who this methodology is for

While embodied carbon assessments are currently voluntary, this methodology is intended to be able to be used by anyone involved in the design, construction, operation and management of buildings in New Zealand. This includes:

  • Designers & building professionals: e.g. architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, building control officials
  • Building owners/clients: e.g. property developers, homeowners, property managers
  • Builders: e.g. main contractors, house builders, subcontractors
  • Construction supply chain: e.g. suppliers of building materials and products, waste contractors.

When this methodology can be used

This methodology can be used at any stage of the design and construction process for a new building. Assessments carried out at early design and concept stage are likely to have the biggest impact on embodied carbon emissions. It can be used at other stages of the building life cycle, including during operation and end-of-life to assess embodied emissions from repair or maintenance activities. It can also be used to quantify the embodied carbon of existing buildings, to better inform decisions around retaining or rebuilding them.

Whole-of-Life Embodied Carbon Assessment: Technical Methodology

Whole-of-Life Embodied Carbon Assessment: Technical Methodology [PDF - 1.1MB]

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: