California Material Selection: Embodied Carbon + WBLCA

October 13, 2021 at 12:00pm PT

Part 1: Embodied Carbon as a Performance Metric
Reducing the carbon emissions associated with buildings has never been more urgent.  The architecture and design community has made great strides in reducing the operational carbon emissions of buildings, and we are now broadening our focus to include embodied carbon, the emissions associated with building materials and construction.  Learn how to use Life Cycle Assessment to measure the embodied carbon associated with buildings and how to balance embodied carbon with operational performance.


Part 2: Embodied Carbon and Structure: Whole Building LCA
A few structural materials can be responsible for the majority of the embodied carbon in commercial and institutional buildings.  However, by using embodied carbon as a performance metric and engaging the structural engineer early in the design process, structural systems can be optimized achieve reductions.  These design optimizations can then be coupled with low carbon specification and procurement strategies. Learn how initiatives like SE2050 are providing tools, for both structural engineers as well as other designers, to help estimate embodied carbon early in design. Learn how architects and structural engineers can collaborate to reduce embodied carbon through whole building LCA through project case studies.


Part 3: Embodied Carbon and Enclosure: System LCA and Optioneering  
In addition to Whole building LCA, targeted Life Cycle Assessments can be performed throughout the design process to understand the relative embodied carbon impacts of specific building components and identify strategies for optimization. Exterior walls are complex, with each layer performing different functions and having a different embodied carbon intensity.  Learn about how Life Cycle Assessment can be used to compare functionally equivalent enclosure systems to arrive at solutions that are high performing and lower in embodied carbon.

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