This research explores the carbon impact of current Value Engineering (VE) practices in Australia. To accomplish this goal, a complex mixed-use building in Sydney was modelled to determine the capital material costs and initial embodied carbon emissions before and after the VE process. The results support the suggestion of a positive relationship between embodied carbon and capital cost, as outlined in the literature.
In this case study, conventional VE strategies not only reduce the building material costs, as would be expected, (by 0.72%, or $396,000 in this instance), but also reduce the initial embodied carbon of the building by 563 tonnes (6.67kgCO2-e/m2 or 1.26% of total emissions in a cradle-to-gate framework). While such savings might seem slight in an individual scenario, expanding these findings across all future non-residential buildings in Australia could to lead to savings in the order of 18,769 tonnes of CO2-e per year, demonstrating the potential positive impact efficiency and dematerialisation can have on Australia’s built environment. The report’s findings will be of specific value to cost consultants and quantity surveyors, as it reveals the potential impact of the current VE practices on embodied carbon and capital cost of a building.