Spotlight Report

The Urgency of Embodied Carbon and What You Can Do About It

Building materials emit massive amounts of carbon long before the lights go on.

In this course, BuildingGreen takes an analytical look at the greenhouse gases that are emitted in the process of constructing our buildings in the first place—the embodied carbon. The report focuses on how architects and designers, working with other key members of the project team, can find low-cost and no-cost ways to reduce the embodied carbon of new construction projects.

Climate change is a rapidly escalating emergency, and we have a lot of hard work to do in order to mitigate its effects. For building professionals, that has typically meant increasing energy efficiency and pushing for renewable energy production, thus reducing the amount of carbon generated by the fossil fuels we burn to operate our buildings. Embodied carbon matters just as much as energy efficiency and renewables. The emissions we produce between now and 2050 will determine whether we meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate accord and prevent the worst effects of climate change.

This report covers:

  • How to assess embodied carbon (and why whole-building life-cycle assessment is the gold standard)
  • How to optimize structural systems, from concrete and cement to structural wood
  • Who is currently addressing embodied carbon and how
  • How to consider enclosures
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