Gennaio 2021

A Carbon Theory of Change

by Andrew Himes, Director of Collective Impact, Carbon Leadership Forum

In the immortal words of Wikipedia, the ancient Roman god Janus was “the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings.” Janus was usually depicted as having two faces, one looking toward the future and one to the past. It’s often said that the month of January was named after Janus, though in reality the first month of the year was named for the goddess Juno, not Janus. (In subsequent years, females weren’t always given the credit they deserved.)

 As a metaphor, however, Janus proves useful. At CLF in January of 2021, we can reflect on our past decade of work to develop the analysis, methodology, data standards, benchmarks, and targets needed to calculate and reduce the embodied carbon footprint of materials and construction. And we can articulate a theory of change to drive our future work to successfully decarbonize the building sector. A theory of change is basically a methodology for planning, participation, and evaluation used at many companies. You begin by defining your long-term goals, and then you map backward to identify the work required to reach those goals.

This moment feels especially fraught: a seismic shift in the political landscape in Washington, DC; rapidly sharpening manifestations of the climate crisis; a new consciousness of the deep connections between social justice and environmental sustainability. In the case of CLF, our theory of change has come into sharp focus. It’s a tripod, metaphorically speaking. We develop and evangelize open-source tools,data and methods to calculate, assess and reduce embodied carbon emissions. We develop policy analysis, model policies, and other tools and resources for embodied carbon policy advocates. And we nurture broad collaboration among companies, organizations, and individual professionals from across the industry to achieve maximum collective impact.

We begin 2021 with a powerful sense of the possibilities before us, and an awareness of the urgency of the moment. CLF is not a small staff working hard to create change on our own. Instead, CLF is a movement of thousands of committed professionals who share a common vision: a thriving world that works for everyone; a building industry that is a source of the solution rather than a part of the problem. We’re delighted to share this moment with you!

Upcoming Events  

Partecipa al primo Happy Hour globale di CLF!

Venerdì 15 gennaio 2021, 9-10: 30 PST

Connect with your peers around the world for this informal, digitally-distanced social extravaganza to build relationships with other CLF members from a bevy of backgrounds, including an assignation of architects, a shrewdness of structural engineers, a pandemonium of policy wonks, and a cascade of consultants from a convocation of companies and an orgy of organizations. Hear the latest news from CLF and have a conversation with a compatriot you've never met. Connect with other members of the CLF community and help determine topics to discuss in happy hours throughout the year!

Registrati in anticipo

2021 Policy Webinar: 

Understanding Washington's "Buy Clean Buy Fair" Bill

Seattle Regional Hub of the CLF Community

Wednesday, January 21, 2021, 9 – noon PST

Learn more from Meghan Lewis (Carbon Leadership Forum), Stacey Smedley (Building Transparency), and Kirsten Smith (AIA WA) about the Buy Clean Buy Fair bill introduced in Washington's 2021 legislative session, how EC3 could be used to comply with the bill, and opportunities to support legislation.

Buy Clean è un approccio di politica degli appalti che mira a colmare una lacuna attuale nella politica climatica incorporando requisiti per l'acquisto di costruzioni a basse emissioni di carbonio che affrontano le emissioni di gas serra dai materiali da costruzione negli acquisti governativi.

Zero emissioni di carbonio: l'educazione all'ambiente costruito può offrire?

Lunedì 8 febbraio 2021, 9-10 PST

Edifici e città will host this event together with CLF. Education and training are a key means to help address the climate emergency by ensuring a critical mass of entrants to the professions have the necessary ethics, knowledge, skills and competences toachieve a zero-carbon built environment. Is the current higher education curricula for built environment professionals adequate to meet this challenge? What can be done to positively influence the situation?

Registrati in anticipo
CLF Announces New
Carbonio incarnato
Policy Toolkit

Driving down embodied carbon requires a complete system
Valid, accurate, and reliable data. Transparency and reporting requirements. Alignment with rigorous standards. Public EPD database.

Setting the stage with Buy Clean legislation
In the US, Buy Clean legislation in California (and proposed in other states) has led the way to requiring the procurement of low-carbon materials for publicly-funded projects.

Exploiting missed opportunities to decarbonize buildings

Throughout 2020, the Carbon Leadership Forum invested significant resources in developing an array of resources to support the development of embodied carbon policies. Concludendo tale sforzo il 1 ° gennaio 2021, il CLF ha annunciato il rilascio di un Embodied Carbon Policy Toolkit, offrendo a politici, professionisti del settore e attivisti del clima un pacchetto attentamente progettato per guidare lo sviluppo di politiche di decarbonizzazione a livello municipale, statale e livelli.

Le politiche sul carbonio incorporate assumono una varietà di forme, a seconda del livello di coinvolgimento del governo e dell'ambito di comportamento che la politica intende affrontare. Esempi inclusi:

  • Politiche di approvvigionamento (come Acquista pulito e variazioni specifiche del materiale)
  • Piani d'azione per il clima
  • Codici di costruzione
  • Zonizzazione della città, uso del suolo e regolamenti e incentivi edilizi, comprese le politiche di riutilizzo di materiali e edifici
  • Ordini esecutivi che affrontano il carbonio incarnato delle emissioni del settore edile e industriale

CLF founder and executive director Kate Simonen emphasized the urgency of using policy as a lever to address embodied carbon on a wide scale: "The logical conclusion of the Paris Agreement is that we must drive carbon emissions down in every sector and must approach these reductions in a systematic way.We already know how to create energy-efficient buildings, and we’ve made good progress on the energy side of the equation. Reducing the impact of building materials and construction -- as much as or more than 50% of the life cycle carbon of a building -- is both important and under-addressed. We must act now to implement effective low-embodied carbon policies and practices. Emissions released now are more critical than emissions released later--we don't have time to wait."

La serie di istruzioni sulle politiche inizia con un'introduzione alle politiche di approvvigionamento, note anche come Buy Clean. Continua a ricontrollare per vedere ulteriori istruzioni su altre aree politiche.

Policy is an essential step towards creating the scale of action required to rapidly reduce embodied carbon in construction. Alongside a rigorous scientific approach to developing tools and data for decarbonization, innovative policies can create a market demand for lower carbon products and encourage harmonization of embodied carbon reporting. These policies also require capacity building across the building industry to be implemented successfully. Members of the Carbon Leadership Forum network play a vital role as leaders in their organizations and communities who can share best practices and knowledge.


CLF Research Scientist Meghan Lewis
Esplora il Toolkit
By The Numbers  

Buy Clean map
Buy Clean legislation: A highly leveraged way to promote low-carbon innovation
Buy Clean legislation was first enacted into law in California in 2018, and since has been introduced in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Minnesota state legislatures. A New York State law aims to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete. Local action to curb embodied carbon has been adopted in a range of jurisdictions, including Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Marin County, CA, Austin, TX, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Tour the policy toolkit to learn more.
Monica Huang

Monica Huang has been a research engineer on the staff of the CLF since 2016, specializing in environmental life cycle assessment (LCA). Her recent research topics include the environmental impact of housing, optimizing tall wood structures, and developing data on the environmental impact of earthquake damage. She was also the lead author for a guide on the use of LCA in design and construction practice. Her past research experience includes diverse topics such as astronomy, electronic waste, and sea level rise.  As a graduate student, she developed the Port of Seattle’s first study on the impacts of sea level rise on seaport structures.

Read Monica's Essay

This month’s action checklist

Unisciti alla Community CLF online – focus groups, information, collaboration, research, resources, exploration, innovation.
Check out Carbon Leadership Forum News with comprehensive coverage of the movement to reduce embodied carbon.

About the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington

Chi siamo

  • The Carbon Leadership Forum accelerates transformation of the building sector to radically reduce the embodied carbon in building materials and construction.
  • We pioneer research, create resources, foster cross-sector collaboration, and incubate member-led initiatives to bring embodied carbon emissions of buildings down to zero.
  • We are architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, building owners, and policymakers who care about the future and take bold steps to eliminate embodied carbon from buildings and infrastructure.


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