Carbon tool launched for building materials

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with a coalition of industry leaders, has launched the public beta of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool. The building industry now has a powerful tool to take action on an area of growing concern — embodied carbon emissions of building materials.

The free, open-access tool, based on the industry’s first database of digitized Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), will allow architects, engineers, owners, construction companies, building material suppliers and policy makers to easily evaluate and reduce embodied carbon emissions from construction materials, effectively empowering them to reduce embodied carbon within buildings at scale.

The building and construction sectors have a vital role to play in eliminating carbon, as it is responsible for nearly 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Architecture 2030 reports that between now and 2060 the world’s population will double the amount of building floor-space, equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years. Much of the carbon footprint of these new buildings will take the form of embodied carbon — the emissions associated with material production and building construction.

“It is critical that owners, designers, engineers, contractors and policy makers turn their attention to building materials and seek information that will pave the way to reduce embodied carbon,” said Kate Simonen, director of the Carbon Leadership Forum and professor in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. “Recognizing this imperative, the Carbon Leadership Forum and nearly 50 industry leaders came together to offer their expertise, committed to a tool that was free to use and part of a growing open-access embodied carbon data ecosystem.”

The EC3 tool is the first free tool that allows for supply chain specific analysis of embodied carbon data, utilizing the first searchable and sortable database of all United States and Canadian Environmental Product Declarations for concrete, steel, wood, glass, aluminum, insulation, gypsum, carpet and ceiling tiles.

In addition, the EC3 tool is revolutionizing the EPD process. It is the first tool to create a digital EPD form and to translate all EPDs into that form for viewing and analyzing the data. Prior to the introduction of this free, open-access EPD database and visualization features, users were hampered with PDF-based EPDs.

Users can now easily estimate upfront embodied carbon emissions associated with material production and construction processes. By enabling simple visualization of a project’s potential and realized embodied carbon impacts, along with the ability to see baselines and set reduction targets, users can accelerate the industry’s efforts to address the problem of embodied carbon on a global scale.

The EC3 tool was officially launched at Greenbuild, November 19-22, 2019.

Visit https://buildingtransparency.org and register to have access to the EC3 tool.

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