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Reducing embodied carbon and operational emissions in buildings

Last week, at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Microsoft announced it is the first large corporate user of a new tool to track the carbon emissions of raw building materials. Microsoft is piloting the tool, called the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator, or EC3, in the remodel of its 72-acre Seattle campus.

The open-source EC3, which is running on Microsoft Azure, was developed by Skanska with the University of Washington Carbon Leadership Forum, Interface and C-Change Labs. Skanska is purposely carving out embodied carbon in materials in construction—from the cradle to the grave—because it is manageable, said Stacy Smedley, director of sustainability for Skanska USA Building Inc., at the Carbon Smart Building Day, held on Sept. 11 in advance of the summit and attended by more than 300 people in the buildings sector.

“Benchmarking and understanding data is important” but existing calculators have different baseline data, which is not necessarily open source, so using them results in different numbers, added Smedley. EC3 is not only open source, it is free for all to use.

Read more in Engineering News Record