Embodied Carbon

Researchers in a laboratory at Oregon State University study the properties of cross-laminated timber. CLTs are a way to reduce the embodied impacts of a structural system.

Photo: Oregon State University. License: CC BY-SA 2.0

“Embodied carbon” typically refers to the upfront greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing building materials.

Structural materials like steel and concrete tend to have the highest embodied carbon within a building, but all the other products, even down to interior finishes like drywall and carpet, come into play as well. To learn about the embodied carbon of a specific product, look to an environmental product declaration. A whole-building life-cycle assessment is necessary to understand the emissions associated with an entire project.

Embodied Carbon

Deep Dives

Get up to speed on complex topics. You can also earn CEUs and download PDF Spotlight Reports.

Quick Takes

Jump straight to the essentials with these short explanations of green building concepts.

Product Guidance

Unbiased information from our product experts helps you separate green from greenwash.

  • Is Carbon-Negative Concrete Possible?

    Product Review

    Solid Carbon’s biochar admixture can create a carbon-negative concrete, with the help of other concrete additives and credit for avoided emissions. 

  • Can AI Help Close the Timber Loop?

    Product Review

    Urban Machine developed a machine that uses AI and robotics to de-nail salvaged wood for reuse onsite.

  • Can U.S.-made Wood Insulation Go Mainstream?

    Product Review

    Imported European wood insulation has been available for years, but high costs, limited availability, and code challenges have kept it from going mainstream. U.S.-made TimberHP is out to change that.

  • Heat Pump Transitions to Lower-GWP Refrigerants

    Product Review

    Daikin is speeding the transition to lower global warming potential with its Atmosphera ductless heat pumps, which use R32 refrigerants.

In The News

We break news down to the essentials and provide expert analysis.


Thought-provoking opinions from the most trusted minds in sustainability.

Learning Resources

Syllabus supplements and CEU content, with automatic reporting for AIA and GBCI.

Just For Fun

Something weird happens every April at BuildingGreen...