The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Yiming Xiang

Carbon Emissions Optimisation of Prefabrication Construction in China: An Element-based Parametric Design Approach

School research theme: Sustainability in the Built Environment
Research supervisors: Dr Abdul-Majeed Mahamadu and Dr Laura Florez-Perez
Start date: January 2021

The construction industry is the overarching energy consumer and contributes to significant carbon emissions globally. Prefabricated construction has been adopted to alleviate the industry’s pressure on the environment. Thus, the number of scientific publications about the realisation of a sustainable built environment through prefabricated design has followed an exponential trend since 2015. However, it is still not a common practice to implement sustainability during the design stage. This PhD research aims to develop an optimisation model for determining the most sustainable construction design with the lowest carbon emissions in the prefabrication design stage. The model takes the geometric model as the input file. Design alternatives concerning different prefabricated element division plan are going to be generated through the parametric approach. This method forms the alternative space by distributing design parameters within a given range. An optimisation algorithm will be employed to search for the most suitable alternative with the smallest construction carbon emissions. The final output of this research is the optimised design alternative presented in a designer-friendly form. It can assist responsible parties involved in construction (e.g., contractors, government, and clients) to make informed decisions for the sake of sustainable goals.


Xiang, Y., Ma, K., Mahamadu, A.-M., Florez-Perez, L., Zhu, K. and Wu, Y. (2022), ‘Embodied Carbon Determination in the Transportation Stage of Prefabricated Constructions: A Micro-level Model Using the Bin-packing Algorithm and Modal Analysis Model’, Energy and Buildings, The Author(s), Vol. 279, p. 112640. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enbuild.2022.112640.

Xiang, Y., Bu, J., Zhu, K., Ma, K., Opoku, A., Florez Perez, L., Zhang, H., et al. (2022), ‘Reconsidering AIC in Chinese Rural Areas: Responding to the Challenge of COVID-19’, Building Research & Information, Routledge, Vol. 0 No. 0, pp. 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2022.2081119.

Xiang, Y., Opoku, A. and Florez-Perez, L. (2021), ‘Carbon emissions optimisation in prefabrication construction: A review of current design integrated approaches’, Proceedings of the 37th Annual ARCOM Conference, ARCOM 2021, No. September, pp. 814–823. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137756.

Zhu K., Xiang, Y., Bu, J. and Zhang, H. (2021), ‘The Design and Construction of Public Service Building in Developing Rural Regions During the Post COVID-19 Period: Cased on a Chinese Village Centre’, in Scott, L and Neilson, C.J. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual ARCOM Conference, pp. 56–65. https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139321.

Hu, X., Xiang, Y., Zhang, H., Lin, Q., Wang, W. and Wang, H. (2021), ‘Active – passive combined energy-efficient retrofit of rural residence with non-benchmarked construction : A case study in Shandong’, Energy Reports, Elsevier Ltd, Vol. 7, pp. 1360–1373. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egyr.2021.02.045.