Over the average 30-year lifecycle of a new building completed in 2019, roughly half if its carbon materials will come from embodied carbon. Considering that materials used for construction are estimated to consume 75 % of all new materials annually by volume, the case for reducing the carbon emissions embodied in building materials is clear.
For Skanska of New Jersey, the USA’s investment in addressing the embodied carbon challenge began in 2016, through its ongoing internal Innovation Grant program. Stacy Smedley, regional director of sustainability for Skanska’s building operations based in Seattle, Washington, received funding to research and establish embodied carbon benchmarks in partnership with the University of Washington’s Carbon Leadership Forum.
Working with with Phil Northcott of C Change Labs in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the program called was jointly seed-funded by Skanska and Microsoft. They determined that a collaborative, open-source solution, backed by a comprehensive database of digitized Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) was the best way to maximize the impact of this groundbreaking tool in reducing global carbon emissions.
There are over 16,000 materials in the database, including concrete, steel and gypsum. Professionals, contractors, and owners needing actionable data to make informed decisions about climate impact and performance will benefit.
In the fall of 2019, Skanska launched the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (“EC3”) web tool for a non-profit alliance of AEC firms, manufacturers, foundations, and building owners including the Carbon Leadership Forum, American Institute of Architects, American Institute of Steel Construction, Skanska, Autodesk, Arup, Interface, the MKA Foundation, Charles Pankow Foundation, ACI Foundation, Microsoft and 30 other industry leaders. (usa.skanska.com)
In 2020, Costain-Skanska Joint Venture (CSjv) and Skanska-Costain-Strabag have developed the EasyCabin EcoSmart ZERO for building sites, its hydrogen and solar power replacing the traditional diesel generator. to achieve Skanska’ commitment to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050.