Sustainability ENews Vol 12 #4 Examine Embodied Carbon

Sustainability E-News
Examining Embodied Carbon
February 28, 2020
Volume 12, Number 4
From The Editor
The USGBC recently introduced a new Pilot Credit on low carbon construction materials. The tool used in this Pilot Credit extracts life cycle inventory data from third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) and covers only cradle-to-gate scope. Impacts associated with building use and operation and end of life are not considered. So while it is limited in absolute measurement of embodied carbon, it can be used to identify products with an initial, relatively lower embodied carbon within a given product category (i.e. concrete). This credit joins others in the Pilot Credit library, such as the Pilot Credit on Design for Enhanced Resilience, that go beyond the traditional scope of LEED. You can read more about the new credit in the link below.
Christine "Tina" Subasic, PE, LEED AP        
NOTE: Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor. Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.
The first article below reminds us why consideration of a complete life cycle is so important, and how keeping data up-to-date is critical for accurate evaluations. ~Tina
Embodied Carbon of Solar PV: Why It Must Be Included In Net Zero Carbon Buildings
This article from Circular Ecology on the embodied carbon payback of solar PV in the UK suggests that the embodied carbon of PV is now a large concern. In fact, soon there may be many cases in the UK where solar PV may not payback the embodied carbon at all. In 2012 the embodied carbon payback of solar photovoltaics was typically just 4 years. But times have changed and cleaner electricity (the UK's electricity has reduced the carbon emission per unit by 45% in just 4 years and it is expected to decarbonise further to meet the legally binding GHG reduction targets) means that the payback is much longer today.
Time to elevate social responsibility in the sustainability conversation
In the building design and construction industry there is no shortage of principles, frameworks, methodologies, standards, model codes and rating systems that endeavor to help enterprises balance economic prosperity and preserve (or perhaps improve) environmental quality. To the degree that social equity or social justice is considered in the broader pursuits of "sustainability," we tend to attribute relatively loose, indirect social impacts and implications from balancing the other two legs of triple bottom line table. However, this may be starting to change. Read more.
US Green Building Council VP on latest trends
US Green Building Council's Senior Vice President for Technical Core, Melissa Baker, discusses numbers and facts behind the recently released Top 10 States for LEED Green Building in this Q&A. "Since the first certified project in 2000, LEED has become the most widely used green building rating system in the world," she says. 
LEED continues to push the boundaries of the rating system with their latest Pilot Credit on low carbon construction materials. ~Tina
New LEED Pilot Credit: Low carbon construction materials
Recently USGBC introduced a new Pilot Credit: Procurement of Low Carbon Construction Materials. The intent of this credit is to reduce the embodied carbon of materials used in construction. This credit is largely based on life-cycle environmental impact data. It uses the University of Washington/Carbon Leadership Forum methodology to compare carbon emissions of materials used in a project against a baseline.
New tools for LEED v4.1 in LEED Online
USGBC has recently launched new tools for LEED v4.1 in LEED Online to support the precertification and initial certification of individual projects using LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) that include several new features. Read more.

Circularity, or closing the loop, in business operations is the latest 'hot' topic. Circularity though is not yet well defined, but has as its emphasis elimination of waste at the end of a product's life by incorporating the old into something new. ~Tina
A new tool to help companies to assess their progress on circularity
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched the Circular Transition Indicators (CTI) framework and the accompanying free online tool. The CTI is a comprehensive framework that complements a company's existing sustainability efforts and it is applicable to all companies, regardless of their industry, value chain position or geography. It enables companies to take ownership of their circular transition and perform their self-assessment based on their own scope and priorities, in full confidentiality. Read more.
Every company should focus on improving sustainability
Sustainability is important for every company, and businesses of all sizes are making environmental progress through individual efforts and participation in partnerships, public-private collaborations and CEO-led associations, writes Karen Quintos, chief customer officer for Dell. Companies can improve their sustainability through ethical sourcing, reduced energy consumption and longer resource life cycles.
Entering the decade of delivery: 10 top tips for companies
To mark the beginning of the "Decade of Delivery" on the Sustainable Development Goals, WBCSD has drawn up an insight piece on SDG prioritization for business, with 10 top tips for companies as they work to identify their opportunities to drive and deliver meaningful SDG impact and progress. 
Building blocks for a more sustainable office
Adding a little sustainability to a workplace doesn't mean you need to sacrifice comfort or perks, writes Peter Daisyme, co-founder of Hostt. Consider implementing "Green Day" initiatives, bringing biological inspiration into any renovations, and setting standards with your suppliers to minimize your environmental impact. Read the full story.

Register Now for The Masonry Society Spring Meetings
Registration is now open for the TMS Spring Meetings to be held in Charlotte, NC April 30 - May 2, 2020. For more information on the upcoming meeting and TMS Committee activities visit the TMS website.
Webinar: What’s New in LEED v4.1
The latest version of LEED, LEED v4.1, was released in early 2019 proved a challenge to many designers and manufacturers. The Materials and Resources credits were particularly problematic. This new webinar explains how LEED v4.1 attempts to address these issues by adding incremental achievement levels and revising the thresholds and criteria in many of the credits. To register for this April 9, 2020 webinar, click here.
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