June 2023

From Lock Down to Look Up!

by Meghan Lewis, Senior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum

April and May were big travel months for me, as I’m sure they were for many of you. The squeeze to fit in events before everyone disappears for the summer always makes spring bursting at the seams with conferences and other gatherings!

When I started at the CLF in 2020, Seattle was still deep in lockdown. It felt unbelievable that a job focused entirely on embodied carbon policy could fill 40 hours a week. It did, of course, but at the same time, our policy research and that of many of our early collaborators on EC policy—RMI, New Buildings Institute, il Blue Green Alliance, Energia rivoluzionaria, ACEEE—seemed like just a tiny voice at the back of the room, waiting for someone to notice that our hand was raised. 

Al Getting to Zero Forum, il Holcim Foundation Impact Summit, e il Pacific Coast Collaborative Symposium this spring, I got to meet many of our collaborators in-person for the first time after years of Zoom calls. We could hug, look around the room, and celebrate with a sea of people committed to pursuing the same goal: to transform the building sector to radically reduce embodied carbon from buildings and infrastructure. In every direction, there was a CLF Hub policy lead, a new government leader driving change at the federal, state, or city level, or a recent connection at a new partner organization, all driving towards a better future. 

Later this summer, I look forward to sharing a new report, Advancing the LCA Data Ecosystem for Policy. This work builds on stakeholder interviews, our collective response to the EPA’s RFI this May, and the input of many more across our network through virtual workshops in April. This work would not have been possible three years ago, and truly reflects the groundbreaking shift in what is now possible through the ever-growing network of new leaders on embodied carbon policy. We need you all! None of us can do this work alone. As Kate continues to yell through her megaphone: Better, Faster, Together!  I hope you all have an excellent summer.

All the best,


Impatto sui membri  

Christopher Williams
Vice-President, Thornton Tomasetti

Brie McCarthy
Architectural Staff and Embodied Carbon Specialist,The Miller Hull Partnership

Robert Forster
Senior Project Manager, Langan Engineering

Johanna Jarvinen
Regional Business Development Manager, One Click LCA

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

August 10: CLF 2023 Material Baselines Webinar

CLF will host a webinar on August 10, 2023 from 9:00 - 10:30 am (PST) to present our recently published 2023 Material Baselines report. When you register in advance, please provide any questions you have about the report. Reviewing your questions will help us prepare the webinar's content ahead of time.  

Register for the August 10 Webinar!



June 15: Low Carbon Concrete Workshop Series Begins 

RMI in partnership with CLF will host a series of 6 virtual educational sessions to support State Department of Transportation staff in taking action to reduce the environmental impact of concrete materials.

The first session is planned for June 15, 2023 at 10:00 am (PT). 

At this session, you will:

  • Learn the nuts and bolts of ‘Buy Clean’
  • Learn how to implement ‘Buy Clean’ pilots for concrete materials
  • Learn about opportunities in the Inflation Reduction Act and ideas for BIL projects
  • Set goals for advancing low carbon concrete procurement within your organization
Register for the June 15 RMI Workshop!

NBBJ: Carbon-Based Decision-Making, an Ethical Imperative 


"A recent (confidential) NBBJ project achieved a 50% reduction in embodied carbon from CLF 2019 baseline values. CLF’s work in establishing these baselines...made this progress possible." "NBBJ has developed an internal tool, ZeroGuide, in 2020 as an early-stage design and education tool, a way to raise carbon literacy amongst NBBJ design teams and set projects on the right track as early as possible."

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

by Pragya Gupta and Margaret Montgomery

At NBBJ, we help clients pursue health, community, and a zero-carbon future. We believe that all voices matter and root our work in research. As humans, we’re dependent on a healthy planet for our survival; as designers, we seek to honor that critical relationship. We see it as our duty and privilege to confront climate change and build sustainable communities, no matter the scale, location, or end user. It’s the only way we can thrive.

Our work overshadows our own footprint in scale, but we recognize the importance of tackling our own impact first; as a certified CarbonNeutral® firm, we plan to decrease our footprint by 50% by 2030 and achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040 in alignment with our commitment to The Climate Pledge. As a firm with global reach, we know that this will be challenging.

Read the full story!

Smoke, Steel, Steam: Embodied Carbon at
the University of Washington


The Journey of an Academic Institution Toward Embodied Carbon Accounting and Action  

by Radha Iyer 
University of Washington architecture student and Intern with the UW Office of Sustainability 

Nearly every academic organization has a uniquely fraught relationship with carbon. Perhaps it’s a product of time and our colonial-industrial past. Take a look at the history of the Seattle campus: 

The Montlake Cut, now home to our rowing team, was a short canal in the landscape, designed to connect Lake Washington from east of Seattle with Lake Union in what would become downtown Seattle. In 1919, the Cut was carved across a place whose Duwamish name translates to To Lift a Canoe. The level of Lake Washington dropped by nine feet, leaving behind a marsh later covered by a landfill. And much later, a stadium, urban farm, and horticulture center emerged from the landfill. Methane emissions and toxic vapors from this landfill still percolate from vents, and the immense asphalt lot that capped the landfill is visible from a steam plant burning natural gas, efficient but still emitting, and crucial to our campus. As many steps as we take towards minimizing our carbon usage beginning today, the truth is that we have years and years of embodied carbon from the past weighing us down. We cannot simply hit reset with new construction, saying “from this day on” we will build green.

Read Radha's' complete essay
Net Zero Buildings
Week is Back!

Decarb Campaign Moves into High Gear June 12-16

Net Zero Buildings Week is a social media campaign aimed to showcase and promote the benefits of net ​zero buildings for a clean energy future. ​​The theme this year is Decarbonize For Good — to showcase how reducing emissions from the built environment can benefit people and communities as a whole. Several organizations, including Forum sulla leadership del carbonio, will be presenting our own zero energy and carbon neutral resources on social media and share other participants' resources. We will be joining with many other organizations to share these resources for one week in June using hashtag #Decarb4Good to illustrate the opportunities for Getting to Zero. Per saperne di più.

June 15 — "Young Voices, Big Impact: How Engaging the Next Generation Can Inspire Action to Reduce Embodied Carbon"

As part of Net Zero Buildings Week, CLF is partnering with Carbon Zero Youth Initiative and New Buildings Institute to host a special event, exploring how youth can support the building decarbonization movement, and how building professionals and educators can empower young voices for change.

Register for "Young Voices, Big Impact"!



CLF Job Openings!  

CLF develops applied research to inform and enable designers, policymakers, building industry practitioners, standards developers, and others to reduce life cycle emissions of buildings and infrastructure.

LCA Data and Methods Researcher

This position will contribute to the development and application of emerging research related to building-sector LCA tools, data, and methods that support reporting, evaluation and reductions of carbon emissions from buildings and infrastructure. 

Primary LCA Researcher

This role will be responsible for development and application of emerging research related to LCA tools, data, and methods that support reporting, evaluation and reductions of carbon emissions from buildings and infrastructure across the US and globally.

Ricercatore politico

This position will be responsible for leading research and engaging diverse stakeholders to support the development and implementation of cross-sectoral climate policies targeting embodied carbon reductions in buildings and infrastructure.

Learn More and Apply!



Introducing Meng-Yen Lin, CLF's Newest Researcher  

Meng-Yen Lin is a research assistant at the Carbon Leadership Forum focusing on the development of LCA for building materials. She received a MS degree in civil engineering where she studied cellular materials and the upcycling of waste materials. Now she is studying in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program at the University of Washington while conducting LCA research. With her research background, Meng-Yen is interested in applying her knowledge of developing sustainable construction materials to the LCA of advanced building materials. Outside of work, she enjoys painting, cooking, and biking under the Seattle sunshine.

by Meng-Yen Lin

Before pursuing my doctoral studies, I obtained both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. Since then I have been intrigued by construction materials. I was super fascinated by the impacts of hierarchical (nano-to-meter) structure-properties relationships on the performance of construction materials. Studying the elastoplastic behavior of cellular materials by diving into the fracture mechanism of the nanobeams allowed me to explore the process of developing lightweight materials, like foams.

Read Meng-Yen'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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