Toward low-carbon construction processes: The visualisation of predicted emission via virtual prototyping technology

Johnny K.W. Wong, Heng Li, Haoran Wang, Ting Huang, Eric Luo, Vera Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


The construction industry has been criticised as one of the major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters and a relatively unregulated sector in the management of carbon emissions. As the pressure on climate change related risks is mounting, 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 that is little investigated, analysed and modelled in the existing literature. 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 virtual prototype (VP)-based 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, it is hoped that the tool can encourage exploration of possible strategies to minimize carbon emissions in construction sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalAutomation in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Carbon emission
  • Construction project
  • Hong Kong
  • Virtual prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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