CAGBC holds National Embodied Carbon Summit

Embodied carbon continues to be a hot topic, with three "must know" developments in the news

CAGBC's Green Building Team on July 2, 2024

Zero Carbon

On June 4, CAGBC held the first ever National Embodied Carbon Summit, inviting stakeholders from a wide range of practitioners from the AEC Industry, government, builders/developers, contractors, manufacturing associations, academia and NGOs. These 60 talented individuals lent their expertise and participated in intense brainstorming sessions to identify gaps and barriers to embodied carbon reductions to develop solutions to meet the World Green Building Council’s target of reducing embodied carbon in new construction by 40 percent by 2030. The creative insights and ideas will be summarized and released early in the fall.

CAGBC thanks Provencher Roy for their sponsorship, Arup for sponsoring the event space and closing reception, and ZEIC for their in-kind sponsorship through facilitation.

On June 5, at Building Lasting Change (BLC), the Zero Carbon Building – Design Standard v4 was launched, representing the culmination of a year of work from CAGBC’s volunteer committees. This new version continues to drive positive change for embodied carbon by setting realistic new thresholds for intensity targets, based on a thorough review of the data from past projects, both ZCB-Design (v1-v3) and LEED v4.1. Guided by these earlier projects, most of which simply assessed their embodied carbon and did not target reductions, ZCB-Design v4 separates intensity targets for warehouses from other building types, given the structural differences. Relative targets (to a baseline) remained the same as version 3.

In conjunction with these events, the National Research Council (NRC) released their new guide: National Whole-building Life Cycle Assessment Practitioner’s Guide: Guidance for Compliance Reporting of Embodied Carbon in Canadian Building Construction. This document is referenced in CAGBC’s ZCB-Design v4 as a critical resource to support embodied carbon assessment. The wbLCA Practitioner Guide provides practical guidance on how to assess and demonstrate reductions in the estimated embodied carbon of new construction and renovation designs.

It is meant to complement and be used in conjunction with the National Guidelines for Whole-Building Life Cycle Assessment. The new guide was created to enable greater consistency in the methodologies, boundaries, and assumptions used in wbLCAs for Part 3 buildings that intend to demonstrate compliance with certification programs and jurisdictional requirements. Using a common Canadian methodology, it streamlines the work for practitioners and begins to allow for program comparisons. It builds on the work done by the City of Vancouver, providing a national perspective. CAGBC thanks its Embodied Carbon Technical Advisory Group volunteers for their review of the draft guide. For French practitioners, note the translation will be coming later in the year.

The world of embodied carbon and Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment is rapidly evolving; stay tuned to future updates from CAGBC.

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