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.

OVERVIEW

We rarely think about our building products beyond their immediate impact on a building or its indoor air quality. But we should.

How much energy does it take to make a product? What are the raw materials? How much does the product contribute to global warming?

These questions are not addressed by most green product programs, but the resources found here look at products and materials throughout their life cycles, including through:

  • life-cycle assessments

  • environmental product declarations

  • carbon accounting

  • embodied energy

With additional knowledge, you will have a more nuanced view of why products are environmentally sustainable and how they can be improved in the future.