March 2023

Embodied carbon? Perhaps it can embody more.

by Monica Huang, Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum

In my post-presentation crash after a webinar in February, I was trying to come up with ideas for the introduction of this newsletter. Something thoughtful and positive, like the introductions written by my colleagues in previous newsletters.

The devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria came to mind. It’s not positive, but earthquakes made me think of the first CLF project I ever worked on—a FEMA project about the environmental impacts of repairing earthquake damage. I could write about how the embodied impacts of reconstruction will be massive, or how natural hazards should be included in whole building life cycle assessments (WBLCAs)... But that would be terribly insensitive to the real-time, real-life human suffering happening right now. I didn’t think I could write anything positive about embodied carbon related to the Turkey/Syria earthquake, so I had to think of something else.

Another idea was about forced labor (a.k.a. slave labor), which came up during my presentation about the Buy Clean Buy Fair (BCBF) Washington Pilot Study. The original BCBF bill included “Buy Fair” to promote high labor standards in manufacturing. However, this labor component has been controversial because it is not directly related to greenhouse gas emissions, and labor data can be sensitive and difficult to collect. Nevertheless, a comment that came up after my presentation emphasized the importance of bringing attention to labor issues, since the construction material sector is only second to domestic labor when it comes to prevalence of human rights abuses in the overseas supply chain (fonte). Forced labor and embodied carbon are similar issues in that they both involve 1) tracing information along the upstream supply chain and 2) shining a light on the problem in order to make any sort of improvement. So perhaps it is not such a stretch to include “Buy Fair” with “Buy Clean.”

All of these thoughts swirling around my head about human suffering on the other side of the world…  I don’t have any bright conclusions about it all. I guess there are some problems we cannot prevent (such as earthquakes), but other kinds of problems—such as forced labor or environmental justice issues—we can try to address through our work. Perhaps, in light of current events, embodied carbon shouldn’t only be about greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps it can embody more.

All the best,


Impatto sui membri  
Anna Lasso Danta Luu Kendall Claus Miles Halliday

Anna Lasso
Founder and CEO at Smart EPD LLC

Dante Luu
Marketing & PR at Carbon Upcycling

Kendall Claus
Sustainability Building Advisor at Perkins&Will

Miles Halliday
Co-Founder at Carbon Title

Find out what our members are doing to address embodied carbon
Per saperne di più

One Click LCA: 
Tools, Training, Data, and Policy 


Interface Carpet
"We launched One Click LCA EPD Generator with the intent of reducing the cost of EPDs for manufacturers by a factor of ten." "In the past few years, the industry has achieved more on embodied carbon than in the preceding decade. We hope that in this decade we’ll also see breakthroughs for circular material use and biodiversity optimization, and will work towards those objectives as well."

Moving the millions to decarbonize with training, tools, data and well informed policy

By Panu Pasanen
CEO & Founder, One Click LCA Ltd

Our mission is to decarbonize the construction and manufacturing industries. One Click LCA is a life-cycle assessment software company with 120 experts and users in over 140 countries in construction, infrastructure, real estate and product manufacturing sectors. We’re also growing fast...

We are committed to training everyone in the industry on low-carbon design, construction and manufacturing for free. Last year we trained over 10,000 people and this year we’re aiming to train 25 000 professionals; many more must learn these skills in the coming few years. We deliver many of these trainings through One Click LCA Academy, and further programs in cooperation with national green building councils and other organisations. We provide one week to two week-long programs with closing exams as well as short introduction training, and we cover both construction LCA and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) creation.

Read the full story!

La sfida del carbonio incarnato da un millennial

Jordan Palmeri

Open Letter to the Building Industry’s Boomers, Juniors, and Everyone in Between  

by Alexis Feitel
Ingegneri e costruttori KL&A

I am a Millennial, born and raised in Denver, Colorado. I was born just after the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. I was 10 years old during 9/11, 14 during Hurricane Katrina, entered the industry as a structural engineer the same time as the first Paris Climate Accord, 29 the summer ash reigned down from the largest wildfires in Colorado history, and I will be turning 60 in 2050, a year we will all be looking the result of our collective climate (in)action square in the face. I will be nearing retirement, while children born now—my generation’s children—will be just 30 years old.

The life-alternating, pain-inflicting, catastrophic results of climate inaction are not a hypothetical scenario for my generation. The climate crisis is a literal, existential threat that will be confronted during the lifetimes of Generation Z and Generation Alpha...Each of us needs to leverage our professional expertise and personal passions to discover the most streamlined and purposeful approaches to effective, timely, and at-scale climate solutions.

Read Alexis' complete essay
2023 Social Equity Survey on the Built Environment  
blue sky

Your response will help inform future efforts to ensure all people working in the built environment have the support they need and opportunities to succeed.

Il National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and more than 25 other organizations are collaborating on an important 2023 Built Environment Workforce Survey focused on the experiences and demographics of people working in the built environment in the U.S. Your response will help inform future efforts to ensure all people working in the built environment have the support they need and opportunities to succeed.

Definition of Built Environment: This survey is intended for individuals in the U.S. who are involved in real estate, design, construction, and/or maintenance of the U.S. built environment—that is, human-made structures, features, and facilities viewed collectively as an environment in which people live, work, learn, and play.

The survey should take about 8 minutes to complete and will close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on March 16, 2023. You may receive a link to this survey from more than one organization, but please only take this 2023 Built Environment Workforce Survey once. Responses will be anonymous when shared with participating organizations.

Complete the Survey!
Chiara (Vivi) Kondrat

Editor's Note:

Clare is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering at the University of Washington, with the intention of exploring the intersectionality between environment, society, and the built environment. Her work with the CLF complements her goals of bringing humanity to address social justice issues and working to help both local and global communities.

by Clare (Vivi) Kondrat

My first step towards learning how to make a difference in the built environment started in the natural one. Washington has been home for me my whole life, both in the sense that I live there and that I find comfort in its beauty. My childhood is full of memories of making mud pies during downpours, climbing trees, and cartwheeling in the summer sun with my five younger siblings. I probably spent more time in our backyard growing up than inside.

As I continued through school, that love for Washington grew alongside a fascination for learning about nature. Learning about global warming, and the dystopian future that could threaten our world’s complex and beautiful ecological systems, helped me identify climate change as a problem with immense stakes that I had the passion and opportunities to pursue. Before this year, however, I thought those solutions mainly revolved around priorities such as improving clean energy, encouraging public transportation, and protecting our natural resources. As I narrowed my focus down to civil engineering as a possible career, I was unsure how my love for my environment would apply to infrastructure.

Read Clare's full story

This month’s action checklist

Unisciti alla Community CLF online – focus groups, information, collaboration, research, resources, exploration, innovation.
Watch Andrew Himes' TEDx Talk: "Change Our Buildings, Save Our Planet" Buildings can be an existential solution to climate change -- not an existential threat.
MEP 2040 Challenge: A rapidly growing movement to decarbonize building systems. Sign the Commitment!

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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