MEP Embodied Carbon

I’m fairly new to the embodied carbon discussions. I’m looking for a way to compare the design of an MEP system and its embodied carbon to a more efficiently designed MEP system and its embodied carbon.

Is there a “baseline” for different MEP related materials?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Unfortunately, product-specific MEP embodied carbon data is currently lacking. As far as I can tell, there isn’t enough data to develop a baseline against a proposed design.

However, you could use recycled content of the steel as the variable between baseline and proposed and approximate the MEP equipment weight as steel sheets.

Then, you could use generic steel sheet embodied carbon data:
(% recycled content, kg CO2e/kg of steel sheet) [Source: OneClickLCA generic data]
(100%, 0.87)
(90%, 1.12)
(80%, 1.51)
(60%, 2.42)
(30%, 2.6)
(20%, 2.76)
(15%, 2.9)
(0%, 3.91)

You would determine the overall weight of the MEP systems and recycled content of baseline and proposed materials to get a very rough approximation of embodied carbon differences.

Note that it may be difficult to get the recycled content percentages from the manufacturers.

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The CLF study on MEP systems might help. There is also a calculator that goes with it. Alternately, looking at the materials and their quantities that go into making a particular system is another good approach, as Boris mentioned.

Calculating pipe or duct impacts are fairly straightforward, equipment is more complex. These systems can have a significant amount of iron, copper, plastics and other materials besides sheet metal and it can be tedious coming up with those material quantities. You should also consider the replacement period and what recycling programs there are for each system since typical lifetimes of MEP equipment is much shorter than a building lifetime.

I believe LETI in the UK worked or is working on another MEP LCA guidance. I believe @louise.hamot may have more info?

Yes see @BxRD Barbara Rodriguez regarding the CLF study (she led this as part of her dissertation) and upcoming work from Louise.