Focus Groups

Carbon Leadership Forum Focus Groups

The Carbon Leadership Forum has formed several focus groups allowing members to better tackle the challenges of embodied carbon through targeted efforts. Members can also initiate new focus groups at any time.

Joining a Focus Group – three easy steps:

  1. Join the Carbon Leadership Forum
  2. Upon joining the Carbon Leadership Forum, you will receive an email inviting you to join the Online Community. Accept the invitation.
  3. Upon entering the Online Community, view the Focus Group options and join the group or groups that interest you.

Interested in starting a Focus Group?

  • Send an email to Andrew Himes, Program Specialist at the Carbon Leadership Forum. He will get you in contact with one of the Co-Chairs of the Online Community.

Current Focus Groups

Focus:
Building

Focus:
Outreach

Focus:
Construction

Focus:
Policy

Focus:
Education/Research

Focus:
Renewables

Focus:
LCA Data & Tools

Focus:
Reuse

Focus:
Materials

Focus:
Structural

Focus: Building

Focus: Building

The Buildings Focus Group works to advance our understanding of how to best quantify and reduce total life cycle carbon emissions at the building scale with an emphasis on understanding and reducing embodied carbon.

Goals

Identify practitioners, researchers and policymakers who are evaluating embodied carbon/conducting Life Cycle Assessments at the building scale

  • Understand the current state of knowledge – what is being done and what projects are underway (update each other)
  • Work together to identify current needs/outline project the task force could undertake
  • Comment and contribute to the development of a Whole Building LCA Practice Guide

Focus Group Chair:
Meghan Lewis, WeWork

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Construction

Focus: Construction

The Construction Focus Group works to reduce the environmental impacts of construction operations by focusing on actions that contractors can take to reduce embodied carbon that results from the construction process, primarily “inside the gate,” but also as a result of the specification and procurement of construction materials and services.

Goals

  • To analyze the amount of energy required for various construction processes and for various types of construction using both historical data from completed projects and real time data from projects currently under construction; to establish an energy baseline for “typical” process loads.
  • To identify, quantify and reduce the amount of embodied carbon in construction materials.
  • To identify, quantify and reduce the embodied carbon in the construction process; to reduce the consumption of energy, water and materials; and to eliminate waste in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the construction process to zero by 2030.
  • To shift jobsite energy sources to renewables and away from fossil fuels both for grid supplied electricity and fuel for onsite mobile and stationary equipment with a goal that all jobsite power be from renewables by 2030

Focus Group Chair:
Stacy Smedley, Skanska

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Education/Research

Focus: Education/Research

The Education/Research Focus Group convenes our embodied carbon academic community to collectively share and catalyze our research, teaching tools, findings, and expertise.

Goals

  • Identify gaps in research and education and aim to fill those gaps through our research and classroom experiences
  • Share on-going research and studies across Universities and Institutions
  • Develop and share tools related to embodied carbon accounting and carbon literacy.
  • Identify spaces for students and faculty to connect, share their work, and find opportunities for applied research bridging the divide between academic and practice communities.

The Focus Group Chair:
Stephanie Carlisle, University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, KieranTimberlake Architects.

Focus: LCA Data and Tools

Focus: LCA Data and Tools

The LCA Data and Tools Focus Group supports the development of methodologies, benchmarks, standards, and tools to advance life cycle assessment use and practice.

Focus Group Chair:
Jeremy Gregory
, research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Executive Director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Materials

Focus: Materials

The Materials Focus Group works to reduce the carbon intensity of materials, which are at the heart of embodied carbon in buildings.  Although some traditional and emerging materials can offer significant embodied carbon reductions compared to business-as-usual and conventional solutions, intentionally selecting and optimizing materials for the express purpose of reducing embodied carbon is rarely a project driver.

While the awareness of operational carbon is growing and is curbed through increasingly strict energy codes, owners or project teams rarely focus on embodied carbon.  For a large building and infrastructure projects, the opportunity to reduce embodied carbon can be huge and a once in a lifetime opportunity that requires research, advance planning and a deliberate procurement strategy.

The Materials Focus Group seeks to daylight these opportunities, understand the challenges and provide information to project decision makers in order to significantly reduce the impact of embodied carbon in building materials.

Goals

  • Measure the business-as-usual embodied carbon intensity of common building materials to establish a baseline from which optimization will be measured
  • Identify the jurisdictional, financial, manufacturing, constructability and schedule challenges for wide-scale implementation of low embodied carbon materials
  • Identify and support research needed to address these barriers
  • Understand owner’s/project team’s awareness and current demand for low embodied carbon materials
  • Provide owners and project teams a tool kit for identifying, specifying and procuring low embodied carbon materials.

Focus Group Chair:
Dave Walsh,
Sellen Construction

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Outreach

Focus: Outreach

The Outreach Focus Group serves as an embodied carbon learning environment, and communicates the Network’s research, projects and initiatives to broad audiences in order to drive widespread understanding and support for carbon reduction activities.

Goals

  • Promote the Embodied Carbon Network through marketing and highlight work produced by task forces and network members
  • Translate and communicate embodied carbon research, projects and initiatives to broad audiences (e.g. private and public organizations outside of the building industry, students, general public)
  • Identify and communicate relevant professional development and knowledge sharing opportunities and resources to the task force and broader Embodied Carbon Network (e.g. conferences, webinars, workshops, publications)
  • Identify and recruit students, early-career professionals, and others interested in learning more about embodied carbon, and seeking to apply their skills and career interests to support carbon reduction

Focus Group Chair: 
Andrew Himes, Carbon Leadership Forum

Focus: Policy

Focus: Policy

The Policy Focus Group works to share and advance successful policies to reduce the embodied carbon footprint of building materials, particularly during manufacturing and construction phases.

Goals

  • Identify government, nonprofit and industry professionals working on policy initiatives at all levels of government
  • Understand the current landscape of embodied carbon policy – what types of policies exist (and where) and what gaps need to be filled
  • Build relationships with policymakers and other government officials and work together to identify current policy needs and opportunities
  • Develop a collaborative proposal to build a roadmap for model embodied carbon policy

Focus Group Chair:
Ryan Zizzo, Mantle314 Inc.

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Renewables

Focus: Renewables

The Renewable Materials Focus Group is exploring the variety of ways to “Build With Carbon”—rapidly renewable, plant-based materials, as well as minimally-processed, ultra-low-CO2 alternatives. We are generating tools for communicating these and to promote an understanding that our built environment must become a major carbon sink on Earth, to ensure a sustainable future.

Goals

  • Research and publish the embodied carbon impacts of zero embodied carbon and carbon sequestering materials, assemblies, and whole buildings. These would mainly be plant-based materials that capture carbon via photosynthesis (i.e. wood, straw, hemp, bamboo, etc.) as well as minimally processed, ultra-low CO2 options (clay, compressed earth, polymer concrete, etc.) as well as materials that capture carbon from industrial emissions.
  • Generate comparisons with more commonly used current materials, study what it takes to achieve zero net embodied carbon utilizing renewable materials and create easy to understand metrics for communicating these.
  • Map a pathway for increasing awareness with a goal of more widespread adoption of renewable materials.

Focus Group Chair:
David Arkin, Arkin Tilt Architects   

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Reuse

Focus: Reuse

The Reuse Focus Group works to avoid the embodied carbon emitted when we choose to tear down and replace existing buildings rather than preserve and transform them.

We can’t build our way out of this. The current gold standard for reducing GHG emissions from buildings is to build new, net zero energy (NZE) buildings. While this is a critical piece of getting to a carbon neutral built environment, there are two problems:

  1. Building all of those new structures will generate a lot of embodied emissions. Emissions from materials and construction are on the order of 10 years worth of operating emissions.
  2. We already have a lot of existing buildings generating GHG emissions – In the U.S. about 1/3 of total GHG emissions are from operating existing buildings.

Reuse and upgrade addresses both of these issues. Building reuse – even with renovations and upgraded results in significantly lower embodied emissions than new construction and upgrading existing buildings is the only way we are going to reduce emissions from existing buildings.

Goals

  • Identify practitioners, researchers and policymakers working in the building reuse and upgrade fields
  • Identify research needed, including statistics on existing buildings, renovations and energy upgrades
  • Identify barriers to building reuse and energy upgrades
  • Develop policies, data and strategies to support building reuse and energy upgrade

Focus Group Chair:
Larry Strain, Siegel and Strain

Interested in learning more? Contact: info@carbonleadershipforum.org

Focus: Structural

Focus: Structural

The Structural Focus Group works to advance our understanding of how to best quantify and reduce embodied carbon emissions in structural materials. These materials account for at least 50% of the carbon emitted in production, delivery, and installation of materials for new construction.

Goals for the group include Identifying practitioners, researchers and policy-makers who can have an impact on the carbon footprint of structural materials; working to understand the current state of knowledge – what is being done and what projects are underway – and working together to respond to the Structural Engineers 2050 Challenge issued by the Carbon Leadership Forum in 2019:

> All structural engineers shall understand, reduce, and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in their projects by 2050.

Focus Group Moderator: Brian McSweeney, TLC Engineering Solutions

Focus Group Team Members

Leadership  (click on image for bio)

Erin McDade

Erin McDade

Co-chair

mcdade@architecture2030.org

Erin McDade is a Program Manager for Architecture 2030. She brings to the organization a background in architecture, with a focus on sustainable building research and analysis. She holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington and worked at the Integrated Design Lab in Seattle before joining Architecture 2030. While with the Integrated Design Lab she helped to develop Targeting 100!, a tool for deep energy retrofits and aggressively sustainable new construction in the healthcare sector. During that time she also completed lighting and thermal analyses on the revolutionary Bullitt Center. She currently leads Architecture 2030’s Products Challenge, is one of the founding members and current chairs of the Embodied Carbon Network, and sits on the advisory board of the Carbon Leadership Forum. She is also leading the development and production of the AIA+2030 Online Series, an education series that helps design professionals create zero carbon buildings.

Wil Srubar

Wil Srubar

Co-chair

 

Dr. Wil V. Srubar III leads the Living Materials Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder and advanced materials R&D initiatives at KATERRA. He is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Concrete Institute, and he is a LEED Accredited Professional. Dr. Srubar is a co-founding chair of the Embodied Carbon Network.

Dr. Srubar received his PhD in structural engineering and materials science from Stanford University in 2013. He received his BS degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University with a concentration in structural engineering and architectural history in 2006. He obtained his MS degree in 2008 from The University of Texas at Austin where he studied materials science, structural engineering, and sustainable architecture. His industry experience includes advanced materials R&D, structural engineering design and analysis, facility asset management, and environmental sustainability consulting.

Dr. Srubar directs the Living Materials Laboratory at the University of Colorado. His research integrates biology, polymer science, and cement chemistry to create novel biomimetic and living material technologies for the built environment. His investigations are motivated by two main classes of problems, namely water (manipulating and controlling phase changes and transport) and carbon (reducing carbon footprints and enhancing carbon sequestration). He focuses experimental efforts on elucidating fundamental process-structure-property relationships and computational efforts on transport phenomena, service-life modeling, and life cycle assessment. To date, he has received over $6.7M in sponsored research funding. He has published >45 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings, and he holds two US patents. He teaches courses in materials science, mechanics, sustainability, and structural engineering.

Focus Group Chairs (click on image for bio)

Meghan Lewis

Meghan Lewis

Buildings

 

Meghan Lewis is an architect and the Global Supply Chain Sustainability Manager at the We Company, where she leads efforts to source sustainable materials for their growing portfolio of over 400 communities in 100 cities across the globe. She uses her background in architecture, materials research, and life cycle assessment to lead initiatives in support of the vision of a healthy, carbon neutral global supply chain. Her role focuses on both internal efforts and design strategies as well as working directly with manufacturers to track and improve their own operations and sustainability goals. Before joining WeWork, Meghan was a practicing architect at Mithun, where she worked on a range of project types and developed office-wide sustainability guidelines as part of the firm’s sustainability team. She also led internal efforts to integrate whole building life cycle assessment and low carbon material selection into the design process, through R+D and implementation on active projects. Meghan is an active participant in the Carbon Leadership Forum, including her role as a contributing editor to the Practice Guide for the Life Cycle Assessment of Buildings. She also chairs the Building Focus Group of the Embodied Carbon Network. She received her Master of Architecture and Master of Environmental Management from Yale University.

Jeremy Gregory

Jeremy Gregory

LCA Data and Tools

 

Jeremy Gregory is a research scientist in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Executive Director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studies the economic and environmental implications of engineering and system design decisions, particularly in the area of materials production and recovery systems. Research topics include product and firm environmental footprinting, manufacturing and life cycle cost analysis, and characterization of sustainable material systems. Jeremy has applied these methods, often with industry partners, to a range of different products and industries including pavements, buildings, automobiles, electronics, consumer goods, and waste treatment and recovery. He received his PhD and MS from MIT and BS from Montana State University-Bozeman, all in mechanical engineering.

Dave Walsh

Dave Walsh

Materials

 

Dave Walsh is a Registered Architect and the Director of Sustainability and Design Integration at Sellen Construction where he leads sustainability efforts on deep green projects including the new State of Washington Helen Sommers Office Building, Federal Center South and a new corporate headquarters for a Seattle technology company. Informed by his dual experience in architecture and construction, Dave collaborates with architects, engineers, manufacturers and owners to find materials that move projects beyond business-as-usual. Specifically, he has worked to reduce the embodied energy and greenhouse gas emissions in new concrete mixes.

Dave chaired the AIA Seattle Public Policy Board and was a Board Member of both AIA Seattle and the Seattle 2030 District. He is currently on the leadership team for Washington Businesses for Climate Action (WBCA) and chairs the Materials Focus Group for the Embodied Carbon Network, an initiative of the University of Washington’s Carbon Leadership Forum. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas, completed post-graduate architectural studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, and holds a certificate in Green Chemistry and Chemical Stewardship from the University of Washington.

Ryan Zizzo

Ryan Zizzo

Policy

 

Ryan Zizzo is Founder & Chief Operating Officer at Mantle, a strategic consultancy focused on climate change, resiliency and the move towards the low-carbon economy. As a professional engineer and green building expert, Ryan Zizzo creates and implements sustainability strategies that help clients understand, track and reduce their environmental impacts and exposure to climate change risk. Strategies including green building certifications, embodied carbon life cycle assessment, and resiliency strategies. He has worked on over 50 green building and neighbourhood projects with leading Canadian and European architects, developers, and property management firms, and spent three years working in the leading Nordic green building scene in Helsinki, Finland.

Ryan is Chair of the Embodied Carbon Network’s Policy Focus Group.

David Arkin

David Arkin

Renewable Materials

 

David Arkin is Chair of the Renewable Materials Focus Group of the Carbon Leadership Forum’s Embodied Carbon Network. He is a founding member and current Director of the California Straw Building Association (CASBA). He has taught and lectured on the subject of sustainable design for over twenty years. David and his wife Anni Tilt, AIA are Principals of Arkin Tilt Architects, an award-winning firm specializing in energy and resource-efficient design.

Larry Strain

Larry Strain

Reuse

 

Larry Strain, FAIA, LEED AP is a founding Principal at Siegel & Strain Architects. He holds a Master of Architecture from UC Berkeley. He is the author of ReSourceful Specifications, one of the first guideline specifications for green materials and has spoken on materials and sustainability at conferences throughout the country. He is currently a member of the AIA Materials Knowledge Working group and serves on the boards of the Ecological Building Network and the Carbon Leadership Forum. He co-authored the Total Carbon Study in 2016, and is he on the research team for the Embodied Carbon Benchmarking project.

Larry is chair of the Embodied Carbon Network’s Reuse Focus Group.

Stephanie Carlisle

Stephanie Carlisle

Education/Research

 

Stephanie Carlisle is a Principal and Environmental Researcher at KieranTimberlake, where she investigates topics related to the interaction between the constructed and natural environment, including environmental systems, urban ecology, environmental justice, and life cycle analysis. Combining a background in environmental science and architectural design, Stephanie serves as a bridge between research and practice, bringing data-driven analysis to complex design problems. Stephanie is a core member of the development team for Tally, a plug-in for Revit which empowers designers to run full-building life cycle assessments during design. Within KieranTimberlake, Stephanie leads efforts on carbon literacy across the firm and integrating carbon modeling into design decisions. Stephanie received her Master in Environmental Management and Master of Architecture from Yale University. She is presently a lecturer of Urban Ecology at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Scenario Journal.

Stacy Smedley

Stacy Smedley

Construction

 

Stacy Smedley, LEED BD+C, Living Future Accredited, is Director of Sustainability, Skanska USA Building and CEO, The SEED Collaborative. Stacy’s resume includes the first LEED for Homes Platinum certified project in Washington and first project in the world certified under Living Building Version 2.0, the Bertschi School Living Science Building. At Skanska, Stacy leads sustainable initiatives and progressing sustainable construction methods. She is co-founder and CEO of SEED Collaborative, creating environmentally restorative learning spaces that educate and inspire.

Stacy is committed to engaging her community in sustainable design and has served as a member of the AIA National Materials Knowledge Working Group, advisory board member for the Carbon Leadership Forum, founding member of Washington Businesses for Climate Action, Membership Chair for Cascadia Green Building Council, Regional Emerging Professionals Recruitment Chair for USGBC, Sustainable Curriculum Consultant, and 2013 Scholar in Residence for the National Association of Independent Schools. She works with K-12 and higher education facilities, offering workshops that engage students in applying sustainable principles to design spaces they can learn in and from. Stacy is a 2012 Living Building Hero.