Perspectives April 22, 2021

Rising up: We’re on our way to decarbonizing the built environment

A look into how we’re reducing embodied carbon in meaningful ways

Amid a global pandemic, accelerated sea level rise, and record-high temperatures, the need for climate action is more urgent than ever. Countries across the world are taking action—from the U.S. rejoining the Paris Agreement, to Canada, the U.K, and China targeting net-zero carbon emissions. But with the building and construction sector contributing to nearly 40% of global carbon emissions, the AEC industry plays a particularly vital role in reducing carbon.

Here’s what we’re doing to make a difference:

Resetting the Carbon Balance
Embodied Carbon refers to the carbon emitted by the manufacturing, extraction, transportation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials and products.

Currently, most of the built environment depletes more resources than it can replenish.

But through communication and accountability, we can reach a point where projects sequester as much carbon as they emit.

This carbon rebalance is a long-term commitment, and in the last two years alone, we've been making concerted strides.
Our internal Carbon Practice Guide
This is our comprehensive resource for understanding and reducing carbon emissions through the design process.
What's next?

The building industry is still establishing best practices for reducing embodied carbon. We’ve been actively conducting life cycle assessments (LCAs) at every stage of the design process, from concept design to construction, through a combination of industry-available LCA tools, coupled with supply-chain accountability tools like the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) to inform our procurement decisions.

By making smart design choices and forming industry-wide collaborations, we’re on our way to decarbonizing the built environment.