Environment Pollution Control Air Pollution Control CO2 Emissions Control

What can we do about the embodied carbon

CO2 Emissions Control


Embodied carbon includes the carbon footprint from the entire value chain and thus the embodied carbon of a building could be much higher than its carbon footprint from the energy consumption during its lifetime.

Perspectives and insights

  • Most embodied carbon emissions are upstream or “upfront” of building occupancy — primarily related to the manufacturing of materials.
  • On the surface, bio-based products like mass timber from sustainably managed forests might be carbon winners. But there are methodology questions and data gaps. The bottom line: no single material will solve the embodied carbon problem, and designers need to choose all materials carefully.
  • It will be important that policy does not get ahead of available materials, building systems and the underlying LCA infrastructure.
  • An innovative carbon trading system could use revenues from offsets purchased for new construction to create financial incentives for retaining existing buildings and upgrading them for energy efficiency.