Oct 30, 2020

2017 Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study

Research Question

What are the typical magnitudes and ranges of embodied carbon in buildings?

About

The Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study is the first stage of the LCA for Low Carbon Construction project funded by The Charles Pankow Foundation, Skanska USA and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method used to quantify the carbon emissions that occur when extracting materials and making building products, otherwise known as ’embodied carbon’. Although there is growing recognition of the need to track and reduce embodied carbon emissions, building industry professionals need better data and guidance on how to implement low carbon methods in practice.

This project compiled the largest known database of building embodied carbon and created an interactive database. This stage of the project established consensus on the order of magnitude of typical building embodied carbon, identified sources of uncertainty and outlined strategies to overcome this uncertainty. The report summarizes the key findings of this research, including benchmark, and provides the foundation for stage two of this project, the development of an LCA Practice Guide.​

Data

Research Team

  • K. Simonen (PI)
  • B. Rodriguez
  • S. Barrera
  • M. Huang
  • E. McDade
  • L. Strain

Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Charles Pankow Foundation, Skanska USA and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The success of this project would not have been possible without the donation of the original LCA database from Arup as well as additional databases provided by: The International Living Future Institute, Kieran Timberlake, the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, MIT DeQo/Thornton Tomasetti, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and the WRAP database in addition to individual LCA studies provided by firms and organizations.

Now Underway: CLF WBLCA Benchmark Study V2

Stay tuned for more news!

Latest News

Introducing Prajin Uttamchandani

Intern, Carbon Leadership Forum Prajin is a student at the University of Washington currently seeking a degree in Architecture, with a focus on...

Introducing Delilah Canales

Intern, Carbon Leadership Forum Delilah is a current junior at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Architecture. Her interest in the...

Introducing Jen Wolf

Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum Jennifer (Jen) Wolf is a Research Engineer with the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington...

Senior Policy Researcher

Research Position Now Open Senior Policy ResearcherThe Carbon Leadership Forum, a research organization based out of the University of Washington's...

ARPA-E $3.7M Grant to Fund Core LCA R&D

by Stephanie Carlisle, Senior Researcher for the Carbon Leadership Forum The promise of radically decarbonizing the building sector lies, in part,...

Postdoctoral Scholar: LCA Modeling

Research Position Now Open Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) modeling of carbon-storing materials The Department of Architecture at the University of...

Introducing Allison Hyatt

Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum Allison Hyatt is a Researcher with the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington. With years of...

Introducing Megan Kalsman

Policy Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum by Megan Kalsman I have always been drawn to and fascinated by cities. How we work, play, and move about...

Introducing Meghan Byrne

Engagement and Communications Lead, Carbon Leadership Forum Meghan Byrne works to support collaboration and communication across the CLF Community...

Introducing Milad Ashtiani

Building and Materials Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Milad Ashtiani is a civil engineer who received his PhD from...

2022 Embodied Carbon Policy Action

by Meghan LewisSenior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum 2021 was a busy year for embodied carbon policy, and 2022 looks to be filled with even...

Introducing Brad Benke

Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Brad Benke, AIA, is a Research Scientist at the Carbon Leadership Forum focused on...

Introducing Meghan Lewis

Senior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Meghan Lewis is a Senior Researcher at the Carbon Leadership Forum, where she...

Introducing Steph Carlisle

Senior Researcher, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington   Stephanie Carlisle is an architect and environmental researcher whose...

Introducing Monica Huang

Research Engineer, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Monica Huang is a research engineer with experience in environmental life cycle...

Embodied Carbon in Construction

Published in Buildings & Cities in the Special Collection: "Carbon metrics for buildings and cities" Publication date: September 2020 Authors:...

Introducing Anthony Hickling

Managing Director, Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Anthony Hickling has experience in environmental and social sustainability as...

Carbon Positive RESET!

There has never been a greater urgency for climate action. by Ed Mazria and Natasha BalwitArchitecture 2030 We are in a race to find solutions for...

Announcing the EC3 tool partnership

Press Release The Carbon Leadership Forum, in partnership with more than 30 industry leaders, announces breakthrough tool to easily evaluate carbon...

en_USEnglish