Actions for reducing embodied carbon at your fingertips
WHAT IS EMBODIED CARBON?
Embodied carbon represents the carbon emissions associated with making building products and construction, from raw material extraction to manufacturing, transportation, and end of life disposal or recycling. Embodied carbon represents a significant amount of annual global carbon emissions, and yet there is incredible opportunity for embodied carbon reduction through material selection and specification, and through design.
WHY EMBODIED CARBON?
Annually, embodied carbon is responsible for 11% of global GHG emissions and 28% of global building sector emissions. It is anticipated that embodied carbon will be responsible for 72% of the carbon emissions associated with global new construction between now and 2030. It is therefore crucial to address embodied emissions now to disrupt our current emissions trend, and because the embodied emissions of a building are locked in once the building is constructed and cannot be taken back or reduced.
AN ATTRIBUTE-BASED APPROACH
The Carbon Smart Materials Palette contains an attribute-based approach to embodied carbon reductions in the built environment. It identifies key attributes that contribute to a material’s embodied carbon impact, and offers guidelines and options for emissions reductions. The Carbon Smart Materials Palette is designed to support and complement Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), while providing highly impactful guidelines for low/no carbon material selections and specifications.
The Carbon Smart Materials Palette® is a project of Architecture 2030. The Carbon Smart Materials Palette is a living resource that reflects the best available knowledge and resources at this time. The palette will be updated as new technology, research, and data becomes available. The extent to which any or all of these guidelines and recommendations are realized in practice depends in large measure on their application, local conditions, and the extent to which the designer succeeds in understanding and applying them.
Architecture 2030 does not guarantee, certify, or assure the safety or performance of any buildings, products, components, or systems selected or installed in accordance with the Carbon Smart Materials Palette. The Carbon Smart Materials Palette is presented solely as a guide, which may be modified as more information becomes available. In utilizing the Carbon Smart Materials Palette, practitioners must research and ensure the applicability and structural performance of the various materials, and comply with safety and application instructions, ordinances and codes applicable in their jurisdictions.