A team of construction and tech companies has created an open-source application that calculates carbon emissions from building materials, and can help designers to reduce the environmental impact of their buildings.
The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) was designed by Autodesk, Arup, the Carbon Leadership Forum, Katerra, Skanska USA and Microsoft, among others.
During the testing phase, Skanska found that its use could reduce the carbon costs of designs by up to 30%, without increasing construction costs, in most cases. Â
Stacy Smedley, Skanska USA’s director of sustainability, said: "Until now, the building industry has not had a way to assess our supply chain through the lens of its carbon impact. Not only does the EC3 tool leverage how we naturally plan and estimate our work, it allows us to build for a better society by empowering our industry to reduce its carbon footprint."
Beth Heider, Skanska USA’s chief sustainability officer, added: "It may not matter how efficiently we operate our buildings over time if we don’t immediately address the carbon embodied in what and how we build.
"We have only a short time to actionably reduce carbon emissions as a society. With our benchmarking and the EC3 tool, we more fully understand the emissions footprint of how and what we build, and can chart an urgent course toward its reduction."
Currently, EC3 contains a database of information on 16,000 construction materials based on environmental product information. The database is searchable by material performance requirements and design specifications, as well as project location and global warming potential.
More information is available on the Carbon Leadership Forum website, EC3 is due to be released to the public on November 19, 2019.
Image: Concrete being poured (Andrii Tsynhariuk/Dreamstime)