Embodied carbon in buildings accounts for 11% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Greenprint Center for Building Performance.
A new report from that group, Embodied Carbon in Buildings Materials for Real Estate, explains how reducing embodied carbon in the construction process can save developers money and help mitigate the impacts of climate change. Embodied carbon refers to the emissions associated with the manufacturing, transportation, construction of building materials, as well as building materials disposal.
Greenprint and its members are striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. The report examines multiple steps that contractors and developers can take to reduce their embodied carbon:
- Consider low-carbon structural materials, such as green concrete, recycled steel, or mass timber
- Reduce the total materials in building design, which can result in lower costs
- Repurpose used materials as much as possible, which can add authenticity to a project
- Specify lower-carbon materials when offering an RFP, which often comes at no added cost
- Calculate the embodied carbon of the materials in the project, to understand the emissions impacts and prepare the building for eventual embodied carbon reporting regulations that may be enacted by local municipalities
- Promote the embodied carbon reductions gain to build community good will and increase market awareness and adoption of reduced embodied carbon buildings