Project Overview

Westgate shopping centre is a major shopping centre in Oxford, England, that was extensively remodelled and extended between 2016–17. The project focused on achieving an ultra-low carbon target through savings in embodied carbon.


  • Client’s objective was to offset all the regulated operational carbon emissions from landlord areas with energy efficiency measures and embodied carbon reductions
  • Operational efficiency savings achieved approximately 2,900 tCO2
  • Embodied carbon savings exceeded the target eventually achieving some 30,000 tCO2e savings that were cost neutral

Approaches Used

  • The development measured all carbon emissions throughout the life of the building: LCA modules A1-A5, B1-B6, C1-C4.
  • The target set for the development was to be ultra-low carbon, defined as an offset of 100% of the regulated operational CO2 emissions over a notional 30 year lifespan allowing for the decarbonisation of the national electricity grid.
  • A target of 25,777 tCO2 had to be offset through embodied carbon reductions against the stage C carbon budget (225,840 tCO2)
  • Embodied carbon savings was achieved through the following:
    • Concrete was sourced within 40-50km
    • Structural steel sections had > 80% recycled content
    • 100% of used timber formwork was sent to local recycling centres
    • Steel reinforcement sourcing rebar to be sourced within 200km
    • Structural steel sourcing steel to be sourced within 200km
    • Insulation specification: high recycled content (min, 25%, preferably >50% recycled content)
    • Plasterboard specification: recycled content of 80% – 90%
    • Aggregate high recycled content (>25% recycled content)