August 2020

Growth and Transition
By Kate Simonen, Executive Director, Carbon Leadership Forum

The Carbon Leadership Forum is going through an exciting time of growth and transition. As of yesterday, our Managing Director Anthony Hickling has joined our team. While I’ll remain in the role of Executive Director providing continuity and high -evel leadership, I’m thrilled to have Anthony take on key organizational leadership and communit- building roles that are needed as our mission expands and as we bring on additional technical staff in the coming months.

Keeping with our theme, this is an exciting time of growth and transition for me personally as well. On June 1st, I took on the role of Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington in the College of Built Environments (CBE). After ten years as a faculty member I’m thrilled to help lead CBE as we work to educate, research and create impact. I believe we all have a responsibility to engage our communities and lead towards the future we choose and I choose a future where students graduate inspired and prepared to address grand challenges of climate, equity and health through interdisciplinary collaboration. I choose a future where universities see their buildings as living laboratories demonstrating pathways to radical decarbonization and testbeds for innovative technologies.

I’m excited to grow into these new roles and to be working with great teams both within the Carbon Leadership Forum and the College of Built Environments. Please do reach out if you have ideas on how we can be more effective. It’s our collective engagement that propels us forward.

Finally, go to Who We Are and click on Annual Reports. We've got a story to tell about the amazing growth of our network and impact!


“I ardently believe in building meaningful relationships in order to achieve success as changemakers. I also believe that diversity of thought and experience is crucial to successful change-making.”

by Anthony Hickling

As a child I wanted to be an architect. I drew floor plans, toured open houses (still do), and loved getting lost in the details of a space. As I grew and learned what a significant impact buildings have on exacerbating climate change, I decided that making the building sector more sustainable would be my top priority. It fuels my passion for working in and around the built environment while also supporting a crucial movement towards sustainability.

In 2018 my commitment to sustainability led me to Presidio Graduate School (PGS) where I cultivated best practices for operating businesses that support people, profit, and the planet. From finance and operations to marketing and fundraising, I learned to navigate the priorities of traditional business stakeholders while bringing a systems perspective that incorporates social and environmental externalities. I utilized these lessons while working as an MBA consultant to support projects to establish sustainability tracking systems, improve operational efficiency, and build evidence-based marketing plans.

Read More


EC3 Tool Update  
Launched  by the Carbon Leadership Forum, the EC3 tool is the first open-access tool available for calculating the embodied carbon footprint of materials and construction. Sankey Diagrams in EC3 Tool
Simple visualization of your project’s potential and realized embodied carbon emissions, with the ability to see limits and set targets.

EC3 Tool Transforms Markets for Building Materials

Nine months after its November introduction in Atlanta, GA at Greenbuild 2019, the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool is rapidly becoming an essential resource for architects and engineers aiming to design low-carbon buildings.

The EC3 tool is a free, cloud-based, easy-to-use tool that allows benchmarking, assessment and reductions in embodied carbon, focused on the upfront supply chain emissions of construction materials. The tool was incubated and developed as a project of the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington, with financial support and collaboration from over 50 foundation and industry sponsors, including the Pankow and MKA Foundations, and recently added sustainability leaders from leading building owners and manufacturers. A new nonprofit, Building Transparency, was established to continue to manage and scale the tool.

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Decarbonization and Social Equity  
Colman School retrofit

The Colman School’s adaptive reuse as the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, and 36 units of affordable housing, although not LEED-certified, is an example of preserving a neighborhood icon while providing energy-efficient reuse and extending the life of a 100-year-old edifice for another 100 years. Photo credit: Fawn Art Photography

Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility:
We Can Do It All

by Donald King
Principal Architect of Mimar Studio, a predevelopment planning and design consultancy, and an Affiliate Professor of Architecture in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington.

For many of us who have worked in low-income communities for decades, combining green building applications with a concern for economic and social equity is a logical next step.

However, most members of underserved populations are not as environmentally aware as we might want them to be. Until recently, these groups were excluded from the movement of green design and construction. Sustainable design was not widely embraced among low-income communities because of the misconception that it is more expensive and certification, as the promoted measure of a successful green project, difficult to achieve.

Demystifying the rewards of a decarbonized economy for low-income populations is key to their inclusion. Plain talk and tangible success promote the idea that “green for all” is good for all.


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By The Numbers  
CLF Growth in EC3 Tool User Base
Since its launch at Greenbuiild 2019 in November, the number of building industry professionals using the EC3 tool to reduce embofied carbon has rocketed, rwaching 7,500 by July 2020. 
Call to Action  

There has never been a greater urgency for climate action

by Ed Mazria
Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030

We are in a race to find solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, and sustainable development and energy for all. This crucial moment provides us an extraordinary opportunity to assess and RESET our priorities and actions for the built environment.

Teach-ins were pioneered by anti-war, racial justice, and labor activists generations ago, and the opportunity to leverage this format to again reach tens of thousands of our colleagues worldwide allows us to assess and reset our priorities and actions for the built environment—including providing practical solutions for the world’s most vulnerable populations. Such a platform allows us to collaborate to carry out the real work of transformation: creating affordable clean energy and zero-carbon buildings and housing, designing walkable communities with free access to recreational areas, reframing our approach to buildings and infrastructure so that they act as carbon sinks, and supporting forest and biodiversity recovery.

The CarbonPositive Reset! 1.5°C Global Teach-In is scheduled as a full-day event that will be held three times in September, each one targeted to a different global region. Together, we can make the 1.5°C target a reality.

Learn More and Register

This month’s action checklist

Join the online CLF Community – focus groups, regional hubs, information, collaboration, research, resources, exploration, innovation.
Register for CLF Structures webinar August 21 Global embodied carbon initiatives and resources focused on structural engineers
Check out Carbon Leadership Forum News with comprehensive coverage of the movement to reduce embodied carbon.

About the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington

Who We Are

  • The Carbon Leadership Forum accelerates transformation of the building sector to radically reduce the embodied carbon in building materials and construction.
  • We pioneer research, create resources, foster cross-sector collaboration, and incubate member-led initiatives to bring embodied carbon emissions of buildings down to zero.
  • We are architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, building owners, and policymakers who care about the future and take bold steps to eliminate embodied carbon from buildings and infrastructure.


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