Challenges facing carbon dioxide labelling of construction materials

S. Thomas Ng, James M.W. Wong, Martin Skitmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In the absence of a benchmarking mechanism specifically designed for local requirements and characteristics, a carbon dioxide footprint assessment and labelling scheme for construction materials is urgently needed to promote carbon dioxide reduction in the construction industry. This paper reports on a recent interview survey of 18 senior industry practitioners in Hong Kong to elicit their knowledge and opinions concerning the potential of such a carbon dioxide labelling scheme. The results of this research indicate the following. A well-designed carbon dioxide label could stimulate demand for low carbon dioxide construction materials. The assessment of carbon dioxide emissions should be extended to different stages of material lifecycles. The benchmarks for low carbon dioxide construction materials should be based on international standards but without sacrificing local integrity. Administration and monitoring of the carbon dioxide labelling scheme could be entrusted to an impartial and independent certification body. The implementation of any carbon dioxide labelling schemes should be on a voluntary basis. Cost, functionality, quality and durability are unlikely to be replaced by environmental considerations in the absence of any compelling incentives or penalties. There are difficulties in developing and operating a suitable scheme, particularly in view of the large data demands involved, reluctance in using low carbon dioxide materials and limited environmental awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Engineering Sustainability
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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