Investigating relationships between cost and CO2 emissions in reinforced concrete structures using a BIM-based design optimisation approach

S. Eleftheriadis, P. Duffour, P. Greening, J. James, B. Stephenson, D. Mumovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


An integrated design approach for the cost and embodied carbon optimisation of reinforced concrete structures is presented in this paper to inform early design decisions. A BIM-based optimisation approach that utilises Finite Element Modelling (FEM) and a multi-objective genetic algorithm with constructability constraints is established for that purpose. A multilevel engineering analysis model is developed to perform structural layout optimisation, slab and columns sizing optimisation, and slab and columns reinforcement optimisation. The overall approach is validated using real buildings and the relationships between cost and carbon optimum solutions are explored. The study exhibits how cost effective and carbon efficient solutions could be obtained without compromising the feasibility of the optimised designs. Results demonstrate that the structural layout and the slab thickness are amongst the most important design optimisation parameters. Finally, the overall analysis suggests that the building form can influence the relationships between cost and carbon for the different structural components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-346
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Early online date16 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • BIM
  • Cost
  • Embodied carbon
  • FEM
  • Optimisation
  • RC structures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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