Equations for early-stage design embodied carbon estimation for concrete floors of varying loading and strength

Jonathan M. Broyles, Juan Pablo Gevaudan, Michael W. Hopper, Ryan L. Solnosky, Nathan C. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Building designers are increasingly tasked with tracking and reducing the embodied carbon of structural systems, including concrete floor slabs. Design decisions that affect both the structural performance and the embodied carbon of a concrete floor are often made in the early design stages without complete structural analyses and life cycle assessments, which are commonly finalized in later stages. In this study, we employ polynomial regression models to estimate the embodied carbon for ten concrete floors to guide practitioners toward environmentally-informed design decisions. Six reinforced concrete (RC) and four post-tensioned (PT) floors are evaluated with varying five structural parameters including the span length, concrete strength, live and dead loads, and deflection limit, equating to 41,328 design scenarios for the RC systems and 27,552 design scenarios for the PT systems, while also considering 32,440 different concrete mix Environmental Product Declarations. The analytical equations are deployed in a web-app intended for practitioners to quickly evaluate and compare different design scenarios and floors. By estimating the embodied carbon of concrete floors while accounting for design and material uncertainty, these equations are ready for immediate use to reduce the carbon footprint of future buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117369
JournalEngineering Structures
StatePublished - Feb 15 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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