News Analysis

4 Big Questions as Building Codes Consider Embodied Carbon

While governments continue to adopt “buy clean” procurement policies, a newer race is on to limit embodied carbon through codes. But the fate of the effort is uncertain.

The urgency of curbing embodied carbon, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with building materials, continues to escalate. Voluntary rating systems have been working away at the issue for more than a decade. More recently, states like California, several cities, and some U.S. agencies started adopting “buy clean” policies that apply to public projects only. Then a handful of jurisdictions, like Marin County, California, moved toward limiting embodied carbon in all new construction. And now there’s an ambitious push to use model codes—even the International Building Code itself—to set and enforce embodied carbon limits.

Moving into the code world, which regulates both public and private construction in an entire jurisdiction, brings new questions to the conversation, including whether codes are the right way to limit embodied carbon and when the industry will be ready to comply if the codes do change.

Published May 1, 2023

Melton, P. (2023, April 19). 4 Big Questions as Building Codes Consider Embodied Carbon . Retrieved from