Impact sur les membres – mars 2023

Que faites vous et votre entreprise pour aider à réduire les émissions de carbone intrinsèque?

Anna Lasso

Fondateur et PDG, Smart EPD LLC

I first developed an awareness and interest in environmental issues when working as a supply chain analyst at Coca-Cola. When I searched for ways to understand the environmental impacts resulting from inefficient operational decisions, I discovered the science of Life Cycle Assessment provided a useful framework for answering larger questions about environmental tradeoffs. It was at that point that I had a eureka moment about the larger policy implications of LCA – it could be used to report environmental information in the same way nutritional labels provide info on food to enable better decision making.

From there, I attended grad school where I researched LCA methods, then to a big four consulting firm. While I enjoyed working across a wide breadth of industries using LCA as a tool to answer interesting sustainability questions, I kept coming back to the larger question of how LCA could be as a framework to drive policy. That’s when I learned about Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) – based on the science of LCA but standardized in such a way to enable comparisons between the same products made by different manufacturers. Bingo.

That led me to UL, where I grew a fledgling EPD program of ~100 to over 1100 published EPDs and development of 25+ PCRs with industries such as steel, insulation, wood, glass, and tires. Given State and Federal Buy Clean policies are increasingly relying on EPDs to disclose embodied carbon impacts of products, the manufacturing community needs fast and reliable ways to publish and share verified digital EPD data. Current EPD certification processes involve inefficient, manual workflows and typically, EPDs are published as static pdfs, which are then digitally converted into a usable format. Not only is this a burden for manufacturers, it also creates a liability when data is not converted correctly — or at all — and erodes trust from procurement, architecture, and design communities.

Smart EPD was founded with the vision of disrupting traditional certification workflows while accelerating the creation and use of verified product supply chain emission information. We’ve developed an interactive web platform that allows for integration with existing LCA tools and digitization of EPD data out of the gate using the openEPD format — a free, standardized, open-access digital format for EPDs developed by Building Transparency. Smart EPD is positioned to help organizations create EPDs at scale and explore innovative reporting solutions all while maintaining highly rigorous third-party quality standards.

Anna Lasso

“Life Cycle Assessment provided a useful framework for answering larger questions about environmental tradeoffs. I had a eureka moment about the larger policy implications of LCA – it could be used to report environmental information in the same way nutritional labels provide info on food to enable better decision making.”

What are you and your organization doing to help reduce embodied carbon emissions?

 

Dante Luu

Marketing & Public Relations at Carbon Upcycling Technologies

Growing up, school for me was sitting in the snow as still as any seven-year-old possibly could to hear the “cheeseburger” whistle of a Chick-a-dee. It was not your typical classroom, but it trained us to be stewards of the land. To enjoy these experiences, we had to take care of the environment. So, we would always re-pack our orange peels and make a game of picking up stray wrappers. But taking home our waste could only achieve so much.

Growing up, I think we all knew what we had to do as we scolded our parents for not recycling, but more needed to be done. To change tomorrow, we needed to think differently today. What if those orange peels could be used as fuel, those wrappers repurposed, or the CO2 we emit used to build stronger, to build cleaner, to build more resilient? What if those orange peels could be used as fuel, those wrappers repurposed, or the CO2 we emit used to build stronger, to build cleaner, to build more resilient?

At Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CUT), we are reimagining carbon. Our work is concentrated on utilizing CO2 as part of the decarbonization solution for cement, plastics, and consumer goods, some of the most used materials globally. Through our novel approach, we aspire to be the most impactful carbon tech company of this decade.

Our primary focus is on the cement industry, which accounts for 8% of global emissions. With Carbon Upcycling’s modular reactor system, cement producers are unlocking a new frontier of advanced materials to reduce the embodied emissions of their products. How does it work? We upcycle industrial byproducts like fly ash, alternative slags, glass, natural pozzolans, and more, and combine them with the operators’ on-site flue gas.

The result is an enhanced supplementary cementitious material (SCM) used to offset the clinker content of cement, the most carbon-intensive portion of cement production. This process dually captures operational CO2 emissions and reduces the total embodied carbon of the product while promoting circularity among heavy industries.

We are all faced with the same question. How can we decarbonize our current practices to build a sustainable tomorrow? There is no one solution. The path to net-zero will be marked by the collective efforts of our industries, governments, and communities. With Carbon Upcycling, I am grateful for the opportunity to make an impact by sharing the stories of those transforming waste to value and innovating the built environment.

Dante Luu

“The path to net-zero will be marked by the collective efforts of our industries, governments, and communities.”

Que faites vous et votre entreprise pour aider à réduire les émissions de carbone intrinsèque?

Kendall Claus

Sustainability Building Advisor at Perkins et volonté

You could argue that caring about the environment is in my DNA. I was born in Australia and grew up learning from my father, a former Park Ranger and now City Planner, who worked to restore and preserve the fragile ecosystems in the rainforest. My environmental consciousness has been a primary driver in my career. I have also, unfortunately, experienced the effects of climate change firsthand. The 2020 fires in Australia consumed the special area in Lamington National Forest where my husband and I married. In 2021, the ice storms in Texas caused our home to flood from the ceiling, effectively displacing us. And throughout 2021, as my husband and I traveled across the U.S., we witnessed one record breaking weather event after the next. I would joke with my husband as I would tell the universe, “I already believe in Climate Change, you don’t have to convince me!”. But the sad reality is, which I’m already acutely aware of, that this is the new normal. This motivates me to do more and more every day.

I haven’t decided if it’s fortunate or unfortunate that I am a part of an industry that has such a negative effect on the environment. I went through 7 years of Architecture school and the more I learned, the more I felt a disconnect between what our industry has deemed to be “excellent” design with what excellent really should be in this day and age; sustainable, resilient, regenerative. I only had one class in undergrad that focused on sustainability, and the “sustainability focus” program in grad school was primary level. I felt like I had to teach myself almost everything. I left school a little confused about what I should do with my career. I was asking myself, “should I stay and make the change I want to see, or should I leave the industry all together?”.

I’ve since found my place in this world. Since finishing school, I took on a Chair position with AIA Austin, reinvigorating the local Committee on the Environment (COTE) educating the community and changing design award expectations. Since that time. I’ve been serving as a National COTE Network Leader, helping strengthen other COTE chapters across the country, Co-Chaired Texas COTE, and supporting Austin’s CLF group. Most recently I have been helping to form a CLF working group in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Sustainability Department, Austin Energy Green Building, and COTE focused on mentorship. To really expand our impact, we believe that we must bring everyone along with us. We often hear from smaller firms, which Austin has a lot of, that they don’t have the people power, time, money, or resources to focus on carbon reduction. Through direct mentorship we may be able to better bridge this gap. Our group will be focused on identifying sustainability champions across the City and making the necessary tools and resources accessible and actionable beyond the normal presentation/webinar event format.

In my current role with Perkins&Will, as a Sustainable Building Advisor, I am focused on reducing carbon in our designs directly. We have a very active Embodied Carbon Working Group, which I am proud to be a part of. We meet once a month to learn from each other, share resources, talk strategy, and more. Implementing change in a firm of PW’s scale takes a force. Implementing change at any firm, of any scale, requires support. I’m lucky to have this incredibly intelligent passionate group of colleagues to support my efforts. The same can be said for the incredible group on this Forum.

Meaningful carbon reduction is a difficult problem to solve alone. At Perkins&Will, we have been experimenting on a project-by-project basis over the past few years in order to better understand best practices for our firm specifically. We are acutely aware that we have a long way to go to achieve our goal of analyzing and achieving a certain percentage reduction on every project. Partnering with Building Transparency to develop EC3 and tallyCAT, however, has allowed us the ability to measure our reductions faster and with more accuracy and we’re continuing to build on these and develop more tools to help ourselves and the industry make even more progress. We’re also focused on accelerating training efforts, improving carbon literacy, adjusting our normal scope of work, and establishing firmwide targets. In order to set firmwide targets we must understand our project baselines. Last year we began baselining with a handful of projects from across the firm of various scales. As we build on this growing list, we’re developing a more formalized process for “forecasting” our projects’ carbon intensity and outlining paths for reduction in a comprehensive way. We look forward to sharing what we learn with this community along the way!

Kendall Claus

“I was born in Australia and grew up learning from my father, a former Park Ranger and now City Planner, who worked to restore and preserve the fragile ecosystems in the rainforest. My environmental consciousness has been a primary driver in my career. I have also, unfortunately, experienced the effects of climate change firsthand.”

Que faites vous et votre entreprise pour aider à réduire les émissions de carbone intrinsèque?

Miles Haladay

Co-Founder, Carbon Title

I consider myself an environmental realist. For me, it’s about finding that place of harmony where we can meet human needs and wants in a sustainable way. When my business partner Trevor and I decided to start Carbon Title, we had reached a point in our careers where we could afford to take a bigger risk, and tackling carbon in the built environment felt like the biggest challenge we could set our sights on.

I’ve learned a lot just since starting Carbon Title, and I’ve gone on a journey in how I think about climate change, shifting from a perspective of scarcity to one of abundance. I used to believe we would have to avoid our way out of this problem—fly less, ride bikes everywhere, stop eating meat, deny ourselves all the pleasures that come with a carbon cost—and I wasn’t very optimistic about our prospects. Don’t get me wrong. I think we should not be wasteful with our consumption.

But a conversation with Sara Neff at Lendlease flipped a switch for me. It was the first time I’d spoken to someone who was optimistic about developing zero-carbon building materials. That was the aha moment for me—the moment I started to believe that getting to a zero-carbon built environment was possible, and that we can come at climate change from a perspective of abundance. We can build the future we want to leave behind us: one that includes more schools, homes and hospitals AND a greener environment.

We are approaching our work at Carbon Title from that same place of abundance. To provide this future scenario where building does not mean taking from future generations, we are working to build a system that will enable builders and developers to buy ‘insets’—specific, trackable, quantifiable investments in the zero-carbon building supply chain. These investments will help promising new materials scale up and help us start the flywheel that will ultimately get us to a zero-carbon built environment.

Our generation’s challenge is figuring out how to create a zero-carbon economy that we can then export to the rest of the world. Building a zero-carbon supply chain is a crucial step. Everyone on our team at Carbon Title is here because they want to tackle that challenge. It’s really, really, hard—but it’s fun. And there is hope.

Miles Haladay

“At the time, I wasn’t familiar with the term carbone incorporé, but we were reducing embodied carbon by using recycled materials and renewable energy on the jobsite. My passion was affirmed for addressing embodied carbon in the built environment, and making this the focus of my career, when I saw Chris Magwood’s talk on ‘The Carbon Elephant in the Room’ and something clicked.”

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