Built environment industry leaders came together for the first time at one table on March 14, 2023 in Seattle, Washington, to discuss a potential coalition on how to rapidly reduce embodied carbon in the built environment.
“ASLA is thrilled to participate in this vitally important group. Embodied carbon is the greenhouse gas emissions that come from extracting, manufacturing, transporting, installing, maintaining, and disposing of materials. The ASLA Climate Action Plan calls for all landscape architecture projects to achieve zero emissions by 2040. The only way we can get there is by significantly reducing the embodied carbon in our projects,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen.
The group was composed of representatives from non-profit organizations and professional commitment groups that are engaged in gathering embodied carbon data from the built environment. They are gathering this data for professional carbon reduction commitment programs or certification systems, along with awareness and engagement activities.
The workshop was convened by Architecture 2030, Building Transparency, the Carbon Leadership Forum, the International Living Future Institute, and the US Green Building Council.
In attendance were members of the organizing groups and representatives from:
- The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
- Climate Positive Design Challenge
- A&D Materials Pledge & 2030 Commitment (The American Institute of Architects)
- Contractors Commitment (Sustainable Construction Leaders)
- Infrastructure2050 (American Society of Civil Engineers)
- MEP 2040 Commitment
- SE 2050 Commitment (Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE)
Reducing embodied carbon is recognized as a key action area for the built environment industries — including design, real estate, and construction — to address climate change.
The need to address carbon emissions in the built environment has been propelled by a groundswell of action across industries, including the recent Buy Clean components of the federal Inflation Reduction Act.
We are at a critical moment where reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment is possible today. But collaboration among industry leaders is necessary to enable a rapid market transformation toward regenerative carbon strategies in the coming years and decades.
The group explored working together to:
- streamline embodied carbon data collection and reporting
- align on key terminology
- build awareness around solutions that building materials can achieve
- speak together with a harmonized voice to accelerate progress
Together, this collaboration will accelerate the transition of the built environment towards positive environmental outcomes through design practices and material choices.
As organizations currently or imminently gathering embodied carbon data from the built environment industry, creating tools and resources, and building awareness about this critical issue, we believe that we can move faster together.
Did this workshop produce any information that would be helpful for designers looking to reduce their carbon impact? What are the best resources available for this today?
Hi Chris, we recommend spending time with the ASLA Field Guide to Climate Action: https://www.asla.org/climate
The Field Guide includes a number of great strategies, toolkits, and resources on how to reduce the carbon impact of projects.
Climate Positive Design is another great resource: https://www.climatepositivedesign.com.
And Sasaki’s Carbon Conscience: https://www.sasaki.com/voices/introducing-the-carbon-conscience-app/