The construction industry has been criticised as one of the major greenhouse gas emitters and a relatively unregulated sector in the management of carbon emissions. As climate change concerns continue to grow, a major cut in carbon emissions from construction operations is becoming a top priority if construction firms are to meet increasingly stringent emission controls.
This study describes prototype architecture for implementing a carbon emission prediction and a simulation tool for construction projects using virtual prototyping technologies. The estimated emissions of the construction operations for each activity are calculated, tabulated and plotted to visually demonstrate the emission rates side by side with the integrated 4D models of the construction project. The presented 5D BIM model allows project teams to visualise the predicted emissions at different times in the construction processes, analyse the emission peaks, and allow the project team to take proactive measures against potential emissions.
A real-life public housing construction project in Hong Kong is adopted to demonstrate the application of the emission prediction visualisation tool. By simulating likely carbon emissions during project planning phases in advance of actual construction activities, the tool has the potential to encourage exploration of possible strategies to minimise carbon emissions in the construction sector.