Green construction for low-carbon cities: a review

Lin Chen, Lepeng Huang, Jianmin Hua*, Zhonghao Chen, Lilong Wei, Ahmed I. Osman *, Samer Fawzy, David W. Rooney, Liang Dong*, Pow-Seng Yap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


The construction industry is a major user of non-renewable energy and contributor to emission of greenhouse gases, thus requiring to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Indeed, construction activities account for 36% of global energy consumption and 39% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing carbon emissions requires adapted government policies, carbon emission analysis and calculation models, and sustainable materials. Here, we review green construction with focus on history, carbon emissions, policies, models, life cycle assessment, and sustainable materials such as biochar, bioplastic, agricultural waste, animal wool, fly ash and self-healing concrete. Analysis of carbon emissions over the building life cycle shows that the construction phase accounts for 20–50% of total carbon emissions. The average ratio of construction phase annual emissions to operation phase emissions is 0.62. We present national policy frameworks and technology roadmaps from the United States of America, Japan, China, and the European Union, highlighting plans to achieve carbon neutrality in the building sector.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 18 Jan 2023


  • Climate change
  • Net-zero
  • Biochar
  • Decarbonization
  • green construction


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