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EC3 Tool Methodology Beta — 2019


This beta document has been superseded by the 2023 Material Baselines Report, published in April 2023. The 2022 report constitutes an update to the 2019 Beta Baselines and the 2021 Material Baselines Report with improved data sourcing, citation, and categories.

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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.

Research Purpose:

To develop the methods used to categorize and assess the embodied carbon data in the EC3 tool.


The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool is an open-access tool that allows benchmarking, assessment, and reductions in embodied carbon, focused on the upfront supply chain emissions of construction materials. This tool utilizes building material quantities from construction estimates and/or BIM models and a database of digital, third‐party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Powered by this data, the EC3 tool enables the specification and procurement of low carbon options.

With primary support from the Charles Pankow Foundation, this tool has been incubated at the Carbon Leadership Forum in collaboration with C Change Labs, and developed with input from nearly 50 industry partners. Read more about the initiative.

The Carbon Leadership Forum is responsible for developing the methods to categorize data and assess EPDs that are used in the EC3 tool. In November of 2019, the CLF published the beta versions of the general methodology and material category baselines to support the public beta version of the tool. Ongoing work by the CLF includes: updates to the methodology general report and supporting documentation, including production of methodology material reports; updates to the material category baselines; technical data support to help ensure that EPDs are appropriately represented and categorized in the tool; and facilitation of stakeholder input and discourse.

EC3 Resources Description Access
Peer-reviewed journal article on methodology Waldman, B., Huang, M., & Simonen, K. (2020). Embodied carbon in construction materials: a framework for quantifying data quality in EPDs. Buildings and Cities1(1), 625–636. DOI: Link
Tool Methodology Beta 11/19/2019 Download
EC Baselines Beta 5/20/2020 Download
Embodied Carbon Action and the EC3 Tool Video overview by Kate Simonen Watch
Data Comparability and the EC3 Tool Video discussion by Kate Simonen on the limited comparability of embodied carbon data Watch
Uncertainty and the EC3 Tool Video discussion by Kate Simonen  diving into some of the details about how uncertainty is estimated in the tool Watch
Manufacturers and the EC3 Tool Video discussion by Kate Simonen about how to find your product data in the tool Watch


Research Team

  • K. Simonen (PI)
  • B. Waldman
  • M. Huang

Research Funding

Lead funder for this methodology research project was the Charles Pankow Foundation.

EC3 Tool Sponsors

Over 50 companies, associations, and organizations across the building industry partnered to sponsor and particpate in the development of the EC3 tool. Learn more about the project.



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