Authored by Tracy Huynh, Laurie Kerr, Chris Magwood, Wes Sullens, and Victor Olgyay from RMI and the U.S. Green Building Council and published in September 2023, this report underscores the importance of calculating and reducing embodied carbon emissions in buildings to combat climate change. Embodied carbon emissions from the U.S. building construction industry are estimated to be up to 370 million tons of CO2e annually, about 6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions per year. By understanding the full life cycle of a building’s carbon emissions, actions can be taken during design and construction to use less material, re-use existing material, and select materials with lower embodied carbon. The report addresses the perception that lower carbon materials are more expensive and emphasizes the importance of obtaining product environmental data. It also highlights the awareness that embodied carbon emissions may be calculated using different methods.

Keywords: Architecture/Engineering, Climate Change, Decarbonization

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