Carbon emissions assessment, standards and ultimately legislation will evolve from considering solely operational emissions to whole life emissions. Carbon cost analysis and marginal abatement cost curve analysis will become standard practice at design stage to ensure full cost/benefit analyses of the designers’ carbon, cost and life cycle options are undertaken. Low carbon design must include the use of healthy materials, a healthy environment, and the wellbeing of the occupants. Designing with recycled content will increase and designers will design for easy disassembly and reuse as standard. The impacts of future climate change will need to be understood and factored into design thinking and life cycle analysis as a matter of course. Whole life carbon (WLC) analysis demonstrates the value of retaining and retrofitting existing structures and fabric. Circular economic thinking and optimising resource efficiency will become a key part of WLC-based design.