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Coalition programs Embodied Carbon Calculator for Greenbuild launch

In partnership with 30-plus architectural, engineering and construction entities, the University of Washington-hosted 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.

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Additional information on Carbon Leadership Forum and the emissions accounting methods behind the forthcoming EC3 tool is posted at www.carbonleadershipforum.org.
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ILLUSTRATIONS: Stacy Smedley, Skanska USA for CLF

CLF, whose work has informed Environmental Product Declarations for ready mixed and manufactured concrete, along with 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.”

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 stakeholders:

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