Setting an Embodied Carbon North Star

At this year’s Living Futures Conference, speakers Amy Leedham and Maggie Smith from Atelier Ten will be joined by Joel Cesare from Google and Thomas Robinson from LEVER Architecture to discuss the potential of a new carbon metric. According to the 2022 IPCC report, as of 2020 the world has 400 GtCO2e of carbon emissions remaining before we exceed the 1.5 degrees celsius tipping point. By aligning the existing SCORS method with the 2022 IPCC report findings, a per project carbon intensity budget can be developed using a science-based methodology to help keep the planet under 1.5 degree warming.

Embodied carbon is an increasingly important factor in minimizing global warming impact and is especially critical before 2030. Starting with the remaining carbon budget, factoring in the rate at which buildings are currently spending carbon, and the expected rate of construction over the coming decades, we can extrapolate that buildings need to hit a carbon intensity value of just under 200 kgCO2e/m2 each for us to stay under the 1.5 degree mark (and ideally, much below that).

Few projects built today are even close to 200 kgCO2e/m2. Hitting this target requires rethinking industry norms, incorporating cutting edge low-carbon products, and committing to building reuse. The panel will discuss various strategies that can contribute to achieving this new metric including the work on mass timber that LEVER and Atelier Ten have explored together.

Join the Zero Carbon Workshop on May 4th, 2023.