By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
According to the carbon leadership forum, the building sector contributes approximately 30% of all global carbon emissions, with at least 8% deriving from the manufacturing of construction materials. The embodied carbon of building materials has a measurable environmental impact. By making a tool that measures carbon emissions in the construction industry, we can decipher the best changes to reduce our impact.
Stacy Smedley became passionate about environmentalism at a young age. At seven, she wanted to design buildings that wouldn't hurt the planet. Stacy is now an architect and partnered with Phil Northcott, founder of C Change Labs, to use technological expertise to develop a powerful tool to reduce carbon emissions in the construction industry. They partnered with the carbon leadership forum to establish the EC3 tool, establishing building transparency with nearly 50 industry partners' input, gaining the resources and education necessary to implement the tool.
Working with industry experts, Stacy and Phil developed every product category on the EC3 tool to educate and examine nuanced data around each featured product. Surprisingly, they found much information that can help curb the carbon footprint of the building sector. For example, in the insulation category, they found that insulations relying on captive blowing agents had a high environmental impact. This is because they trap those agents to gain thermal resistance. When these agents escape, they significantly contribute to global warming. This research is an excellent example of why it is imperative to have transparency— it promotes more efficient production.
Building Transparency – a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization – hosts, manages and maintains the EC3 tool, providing thousands of digitalized Environmental Product Declaration’s (EPD) in an open-source database for free. The online tool makes it easy for users to compare the embodied carbon of building materials to make smarter decisions towards reducing a building's overall embodied carbon footprint.
The tool represents many architects, sustainability consultants and building product manufacturers. The site encourages disclosure and transparency of building materials. Focused on being the ultimate sustainable solution tool, EC3 provides proper benchmarks to their user base so they can choose the best materials for their next project.
Since the launch of EC3 at Greenbuild 2019, the tool has become massively popular globally, helping manufacturers and builders reduce embodied carbon emissions across the supply chain. Stacy believes that soon society will be a lot closer to zero carbon capture. So many sustainable solutions are available now, making net-zero carbon emissions a real possibility.
Check out the EC3 tool for yourself to see how you can start choosing building materials with a smaller carbon footprint.
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