Initiative:

EC3 Tool

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.

The EC3 tool was incubated at the Carbon Leadership Forum with input from nearly 50 industry partners, and utilizes building material quantities from construction estimates and/or BIM models and a robust database of digital, third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Powered by this data, the EC3 tool can be implemented in both the design and procurement phases of a construction project to look at a project’s overall embodied carbon emissions, enabling the specification and procurement of the low carbon options.

The EC3 tool also allows owners, green building certification programs and policymakers to assess supply chain data in order to create EPD requirements, and set embodied carbon limits and reductions, at the construction material and project scale.

The tool and its subsequent effect on the industry is driving demand for low-carbon solutions and incentivizing construction materials manufacturers and suppliers to invest in disclosure, transparency and material innovations that reduce the carbon emissions of their products.

 

The EC3 Tool Story

As owners, designers, engineers and contractors are turning their attention to embodied carbon associated with building materials and seeking information on these products so they can make informed, smart choices. This task has been fraught with problems – from the lack of data to data too complex to evaluate.

In response to this problem, Skanska USA and C Change Labs conceived of a solution that would enable the building industry to easily access and view material carbon emissions data, allowing them to make carbon smart choices during material specifications and procurement. Initial development was jointly funded by Skanska and Microsoft, who determined that an open platform would provide maximum impact for the industry and society at large. To accelerate development of this solution, the Carbon Leadership Forum incubated the project with strong leadership and additional financial support from Autodesk, Interface, the MKA Foundation and the Charles Pankow Foundation, lead sponsor and grant manager. Subsequently, nearly 50 other industry-leaders joined in.

What is the EC3 Tool?

The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (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 EC3 tool utilizes building material quantities from construction estimates and/or BIM models and a robust database of digital, third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Powered by this data, the EC3 tool can be implemented in both the design and procurement phases of a construction project to look at a project’s overall embodied carbon emissions, enabling the specification and procurement of the low carbon options.

The EC3 tool also allows owners, green building certification programs and policymakers to assess supply chain data in order to create EPD requirements, and set embodied carbon limits and reductions, at the construction material and project scale.

The tool and its subsequent effect on the industry is driving demand for low-carbon solutions and incentivizing construction materials manufacturers and suppliers to invest in disclosure, transparency and material innovations that reduce the carbon emissions of their products.

 

EC3 Tool Data Methodology

The Carbon Leadership Forum is responsible for establishing the data and methods used to categorize and assess the embodied carbon data in the EC3 tool. Extracting data from PDFs and creating a digital EPD database requires some interpretation and each material has unique performance and life cycle assessment issues to address when evaluating results included in EPDs.

EC3 Resources

  • EC3 Tool – Material Baselines 2021 – developed by Carbon Leadership Forum
  • Want to ask questions and get feedback on the data and methods?  Please join the EC3 users group in the online CLF Community.
  • Building Transparency,  a Washington State 501c(3) nonprofit, is responsible for developing and hosting the EC3 Tool.  The core mission of Building Transparency is to provide the open access data and tools necessary to enable broad and swift action across the building industry in addressing embodied carbon’s role in climate change. Bulding Transparency is a result of nearly 50 industry partners coming together, to develop the Embodied Carbon in Construction calculator (EC3).  EC3 was initially created by Stacy Smedley of Skanska and Phil Northcott of C Change Labs.  Initial funding and piloting came from Microsoft, MKA Foundation, Charles Pankow Foundation, Interface, and Skanska USA.   The Carbon Leadership Forum incubated the tool up to public beta launch in November 2019.
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