Making embodied carbon mainstream

Light-frame construction
Photography: Nik West

The construction industry is responsible for significant carbon emissions as materials are extracted, processed, and transported for construction and eventually disposed of when buildings are demolished. The embodied emissions from buildings alone are responsible for around 11 percent of annual global carbon emissions. Strategies such as material performance, circular economy, waste management, retrofitting, and waste reduction, contribute to maximizing the value of the carbon already sunk in the built environment.  These strategies are not necessarily simple, but within the current policy landscape, they are achievable and are effective in bringing embodied carbon from the margins to the mainstream.

Advancing embodied carbon policy is an important next step in climate policy for local and regional governments around the world. This report demonstrates that existing policy foundations laid out over decades can be gateways to advancing carbon policy to be adopted more broadly.

Making embodied carbon mainstream

A guide for local governments to reduce embodied carbon in the built environment

Construction drone view of Brock Commons Tallwood House cross-laminated timber (CLT) floor panel being lifted into place with crane to be set on parallel strand lumber (PSL) and glue-laminated timber (glulam) columns

Carbon Calculator by Canadian Wood Council

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Embodied Carbon of Buildings and Infrastructure

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Light frame construction of a midrise building

UBC Embodied Carbon Pilot Study

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