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1 – Embodied Carbon 101

This factsheet aims to provide a high-level overview of embodied carbon — how it is defined, its significance in the global climate crisis, and why it is an important consideration for policymakers.

Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building and infrastructure materials. Embodied carbon is a significant percentage of global emissions and requires urgent action to address it.

Measuring embodied carbon
To quantify embodied carbon, practitioners use life cycle assessment (LCA) to track the greenhouse gas emissions produced over the full life cycle of a product, building, or infrastructure. These emissions are converted into metrics that reflect their potential effects on the environment. One of these metrics is global warming potential (GWP), quantified in kilograms of CO2 equivalent (kg CO2e). This quantity is also commonly referred to as a carbon footprint.


Michelle Lambert
Meghan Lewis

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Sindhu Raju

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