Carbon Leadership Forum

Increasingly the building industry and building owners are becoming aware that materials matter and are seeking ways to evaluate the emissions associated with making these materials. Until now, they have not had a reliable or efficient way to compare them. The free, open-access Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool simplifies this complex problem, giving users the information they need to make more informed decisions on embodied carbon, allowing them to enact positive change. Collaborating partners first demonstrated the product at Greenbuild, November 19-22, 2019 in Atlanta, GA.

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The EC3 tool story

As owners, designers, engineers and contractors are turning their attention to embodied carbon associated with building materials and seeking information on these products so they can make informed, smart choices. This task has been fraught with problems – from the lack of data to data too complex to evaluate.

In response to this problem, Skanska USA and C Change Labs conceived of a solution that would enable the building industry to easily access and view material carbon emissions data, allowing them to make carbon smart choices during material specifications and procurement. Initial development was jointly funded by Skanska and Microsoft, who determined that an open platform would provide maximum impact for the industry and society at large. To accelerate development of this solution, the Carbon Leadership Forum incubated the project with strong leadership and additional financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation and the Charles Pankow Foundation, lead sponsor and grant manager. Subsequently, nearly 50 other industry-leaders joined in.

What is the EC3 tool?

The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool, is a free and easy to use tool that allows benchmarking, assessment and reductions in embodied carbon, focused on the upfront supply chain emissions of construction materials. The EC3 tool utilizes building material quantities from construction estimates and/or BIM models and a robust database of digital, third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Powered by this data, the EC3 tool can be implemented in both the design and procurement phases of a construction project to look at a project’s overall embodied carbon emissions, enabling the specification and procurement of the low carbon options.

The EC3 tool also allows owners, green building certification programs and policymakers to assess supply chain data in order to create EPD requirements, and set embodied carbon limits and reductions, at the construction material and project scale.

The tool and its subsequent effect on the industry is driving demand for low-carbon solutions and incentivizing construction materials manufacturers and suppliers to invest in disclosure, transparency and material innovations that reduce the carbon emissions of their products.

EC3 tool data methodology

The Carbon Leadership Forum is responsible for establishing the data and methods used to categorize and assess the embodied carbon data in the EC3 tool. Extracting data from PDFs and creating a digital EPD database requires some interpretation and each material has unique performance and life cycle assessment issues to address when evaluating results included in EPDs.

In November of 2019, we are publishing the beta version of the methodology to support the public beta version of the EC3 tool.

  • Want to ask questions and get feedback on the data and methods?  Please join our online EC3 Tool Community.
  • Are you a manufacturer or program operator with an EPD to upload? Do you have feedback on data regarding your product?  Email CLFdataEC3@uw.edu.
  • Would you like to be added to the technical working group?  If so register to the Carbon Leadership Forum’s mailing list and send a request to CLFdataEC3@uw.edu.

Methodology resources
EC3 Tool Methodology Beta 11-19-2019

EC Baselines Beta 11-19-2019

Methodology Videos

EC3 tool community

The EC3 tool was incubated by the Carbon Leadership Forum in collaboration with core development partner C Change Labs and the strong leadership and financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation, and the Charles Pankow Foundation (lead sponsor and grant manager). Nearly 50 other industry partners and hundreds of individuals have joined in providing both financial and in-kind contributions. This initiative is an excellent example of what can happen when the Carbon Leadership Forum’s passionate and collaborative network comes together around a shared need for collective impact.

Project Leadership and Key Sponsors

Pilot Partners

Association Partners

 

Material Partners

Early Adopter Partners


Coughlin Porter Lundeen, LeMessurier, Nucor, PCS Structural Solutions, Saint-Gobain/CertainTeed, SCS Global Services, Salesforce, Thornton Tomasetti, TK1SC, USGBC-Los Angeles, WRNS Studio

Technology Partners

Autodesk, Climate Earth, mindful MATERIALS Library powered by Origin, Sustainable Minds, Tally

EC3 Tool Methodology Partners

Arup, Brightworks Sustainability, Central Concrete Supply Co., Inc., Climate Earth, Katerra, KieranTimberlake, LeMessurier, LMN Architects, National Ready Mixed Concrete Co., Owens Corning, Thornton Tomasetti, Urban Fabrick, WAP Sustainability, WRNS Studio

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  • Register now to get access to the EC3 tool.
  • Join the Embodied Carbon Network.
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Resources