Architects Toolkit:

Part 3 – Strategies to Reduce Embodied Carbon

Architects can often make large embodied carbon reductions with cost-neutral measures. A 2021 report from RMI found that case studies had embodied carbon savings of 24–46% at cost premiums of less than 1%. Even greater reductions can be achieved through prioritizing design strategies early in a project to reduce embodied carbon.

Strategies for Reducing Embodied Carbon in Buildings

  • Build less, reuse more by extending the life of existing buildings and materials.
  • Build lighter and smarter with less of a given material (or floor area) to do the same work.
  • Substitute low-carbon materials for high-carbon ones.
  • Procure low(er)-carbon product selection.
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