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Coalition maps Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator launch

Sources: Carbon Leadership Forum, Seattle; CP staff

In partnership with 30-plus architectural, engineering and construction entities, the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) has scheduled release of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator, or EC3, with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, November 19-22 in Atlanta. The open source tool will equip architects, engineers, owners, construction companies, building material suppliers and policy makers to compare and reduce construction materials’ embodied carbon emissions.

CLF, whose work has informed Environmental Product Declarations for ready mixed and manufactured concrete plus the widely subscribed Product Category Rule for Concrete, assesses the EC3 release in relation to a broad discussion among building and construction interests: “Between now and 2060 the world’s population will be doubling the amount of building floor space, equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years. Most of the carbon footprint of these new buildings will take the form of embodied carbon—the emissions associated with building material manufacturing and construction. As a result, owners, designers, engineers and contractors are turning their attention to materials and seeking information so they can make informed choices.”

To address challenges stemming from a lack of data to data too complex to evaluate, Skanska USA and C Change Labs conceived of a solution that would enable the building industry to easily access and view material carbon emissions data. Initial development behind EC3 was jointly funded by Skanska USA and Microsoft Corp., representatives of which determined that an open platform would provide maximum impact. To accelerate development of a calculator solution, CLF incubated the project with leadership and additional financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation and Charles Pankow Foundation, lead sponsor and grant manager.

“Our mission is to accelerate the transformation of the building sector to radically reduce embodied carbon,” says CLF Director and University of Washington College of the Built Environments Professor Kate Simonen. “The EC3 tool is a great example of what can happen when our passionate and collaborative network comes together around a need." 

The coalition supporting EC3’s formal launch later this year, she adds, includes California-based producers Central Concrete Supply Co. and National Ready Mixed Concrete Co. among a host of industry and technology sponsors or partners:

  • Pilot Partners Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Microsoft, Perkins and Will, Port of Seattle, Skanska USA, Walter P. Moore & Associates, and Webcor Builders;
  • Association Partners American Concrete Institute Foundation, American Institute of Architects, American Institute of Steel Construction, and BlueGreen Alliance;
  • Material Partners Armstrong Ceiling & Wall Solutions, BASF Corp., CarbonCure Technologies, Interface Inc., Kingspan Group, and USG Corp.;
  • Technology Partners Autodesk, Climate Earth, mindful MATERIALS Library, Sustainable Minds, and Tally; and,
  • Methodology Partners Arup, Brightworks Sustainability, Climate Earth, Katerra, KieranTimberlake, LeMessurierr, LMN Architects, Owens Corning, Thornton Tomasetti, Urban Fabrick, WAP Sustainability, and WRNS Studio.

Additional information on CLF and the EC3 tool is posted at www.carbonleadershipforum.org. Prospective EC3 users can register for access to the tool at www.buildingtransparency.org.