CBE Research Portal

October 12, 2020

Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study

The Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study was the first stage of the LCA for Low Carbon Construction project funded by The Charles Pankow Foundation, Skanska USA and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the method used to quantify the carbon emissions that occur when extracting materials and making building products, otherwise known as ’embodied carbon’. Although there is growing recognition of the need to track and reduce embodied carbon emissions, building industry professionals need better data and guidance on how to implement low carbon methods in practice.

This project compiled the largest known database of building embodied carbon and created an interactive database. This stage of the project established consensus on the order of magnitude of typical building embodied carbon, identified sources of uncertainty and outlined strategies to overcome this uncertainty. The report summarizes the key findings of this research and provides the foundation for stage two of this project, the development of an LCA Practice Guide.