Featured Member-led Initiatives
Structural Engineers 2050 Challenge: SE 2050
Members of the Carbon Leadership Forum developed a CHALLENGE to inspire structural engineers to contribute towards the global vision of Zero Carbon buildings by 2050. Structural engineers are challenged to commit to meeting embodied carbon benchmarks and ambitious reduction targets. Specifically, the commitment will challenge structural engineers to collect quantifiable structural material data from building projects in order to determine an embodied carbon baseline.
In the United States, a community of progressive structural engineers has responded to the challenge. They are developing the SE 2050 Commitment Program, providing a robust, streamlined process for reducing embodied carbon and adapting practices to ensure substantive embodied carbon reductions.
In related news, the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) in the United Kingdom is championing an initiative to promote a “Structural Engineers Declaration”. Companies are responding across the UK, each making a declaration and commitment to achieve a Net Zero Carbon target.
Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator: EC3 Tool
Incubation: 2018 – 2019
Launched: November 2019
Increasingly the building industry and building owners are becoming aware that materials matter and have been seeking ways to evaluate the emission associated with making these materials, yet they have not had a reliable or efficient way to compare them. In response to this problem, the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool was conceived. This member-led initiative was incubated at the Carbon Leadership Forum, with input from nearly 50 building and construction leaders and associations. Launched at Greenbuild, November 19, 2019, this free and easy to use tool that allows benchmarking, assessment and reduction in embodied carbon, focused on the upfront supply chain emission of construction materials.
Status: Study completed
Currently evaluating additional projects to support
Buy Clean is a movement of non-profit organizations, private companies, and public officials working to end the consumption of high-carbon products – and close the carbon loophole.
The Carbon Leadership Forum members provided a comprehensive report to the State of Washington while attending and speaking at the critical meetings. Although the bill did not move forward for debate and voting in the 2018 legislative session, a modified version of the proposed study was included in the capital.
The capital budget authorized the UW College of Built Environments to collaborate with the Central Washington University (CWU) Construction Management Program and the Washington State University (WSU) Architecture and Engineering School to “analyze existing embodied carbon policy and propose methods to categorize structural materials and report structural material quantities and origins.” The result of this work is the Buy Clean Washington Study.
Other Member-led Initiatives
Bay Area Embodied Carbon Proposal
The Carbon Leadership Forum supported a collaborative proposal by Marin County, StopWaste, Alameda County, and the Ecological Building Network to establish best practices, specifications and model policies that address the embodied emissions in building materials, starting with concrete. The Carbon Leadership Forum helped the proposal team by collecting 45 signatures for a letter of support, which helped lead to the successful funding of the grant.
The project led to the adoption, on January 1, 2020 of the county’s Bay Area Low-Carbon Concrete Code, the first building code of its kind in the United States. Bruce King, a Carbon Leadership Forum member catalyzed the code’s development to rein in the profligate overuse of carbon-intensive cement in concrete.
Carbon Smart Building Day
The Carbon Leadership Forum, in collaboration with numerous partners, hosted a day-long conference in San Francisco on September 11, 2018. Affiliated with the Global Climate Action Summit, the conference brought together 300 building industry professionals dedicated to accelerating a global movement toward a Net Zero Carbon built environment.
Do you have an idea for an Initiative?
We have an Initiatives Team ready to listen to your idea and recommend paths forward. We are committed to radically decarbonizing the built environment by supporting and empowering our members to advance new ideas and approaches through impactful initiatives that translate into action.
Contact our Initiatives Team leader, Amy Hattan (Thornton Tomasetti) today.