flexiblefullpage
billboard
interstitial1
catfish1
Currently Reading

How the new EC3 tool raises the bar on collective action

Green

How the new EC3 tool raises the bar on collective action

Nearly 50 AEC industry organizations partnered to develop the groundbreaking Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator.


By Donald Davies, President, Magnusson Klemencic Associates | January 10, 2020
How the new EC3 tool raises the bar on collective action

The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator helps building teams evaluate a project’s overall embodied carbon emissions during design and procurement decision making.

   

Fifty years ago, we were a divided country, but we also went to the moon by agreeing to work together on a common goal. That challenge required stepping out of our competitive silo’s and focusing on something that couldn’t be solved by any one entity alone. It also involved starting down a path before we had all of the answers in order to meet the goals. We did, however, know a direction we wanted to go in and we had a collective motivation to act.  

What is our next moon shot? When looking at the “win at all cost” mentalities of our current politics, it is no doubt discouraging to people on all sides. We do, however, face daunting challenges today, and we could use more collective efforts where we chose to work together for a common cause. One of these next moonshot challenges is how we, members of the building community, respond to climate change.

Time is not our friend on this one. If we are to have success, we need to quickly move out of our individual silos and engage the collective of the building community: owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and material suppliers. If we can find common causes where we can work together, we can set forth thoughtful ideas, and scale their speed of adoption.

A recent example of how this can happen in the AEC industry is the development of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). Nearly 50 industry partners came together to develop and deploy this groundbreaking cloud-based tool. It is free and open access. It helps building teams evaluate a project’s overall embodied carbon emissions during design and procurement decision making, making it easier to compare like materials, and enabling the specification and procurement of the lower carbon material options. 

The tool and its subsequent impact on the industry is driving a growing demand for lower-carbon building solutions and incentivizing manufacturers and suppliers to invest in disclosure, transparency, and material innovations that reduce the carbon emissions of their products. (To understand how to integrate EC3 into a project’s workflow, check out the EC3 AEC industry primer.)

There are many partners that have helped bring the EC3 tool into existence, including Skanska and C Change Lab’s origin of the idea. For our part, the MKA Foundation as the lead funder to date, in coordination with the Charles Pankow Foundation, as both a funder and the collective grant manager, supported the Carbon Leadership Forum for the tool’s development. 

 

Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) Partners


CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE


One key to this effort’s success was the approach advocated by the Charles Pankow Foundation and the Carbon Leadership Forum, encouraging a culture focused on collective impact and collaborative actions--where self interests routinely are set aside so diverse groups of leaders can engage, challenge conventional wisdom, and reshape the conversation.

This approach led to peers and competitors alike being able to engage in a common space, including for the structural community, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the American Concrete Institute (ACI), and the American Wood Council (AWC), each providing funding and technical input. Getting these three main material-focused organizations to agree to work on a common effort that was bigger than any one of them has been a major collective action accomplishment.

The model deployed by this project raises the bar for how the design and construction industries can come together to work on collective initiatives that are in all our interest. Through collective action, it is already paving a way to address the carbon reduction goals for our industry.

We hope that this project will inspire our industry to do more of the same. If you have an idea worthy of a collective action initiative, we invite you to engage this same model and seek out partners that are willing to invest and engage with you to bring your idea forward. When we choose to work together, many things are possible. Even ideas as ludicrous as going to the moon.

Related Stories

Sustainability | Jun 24, 2024

CBRE to use Climate X platform to help clients calculate climate-related risks

CBRE will use risk analysis platform Climate X to provide climate risk data to commercial renters and property owners. The agreement will help clients calculate climate-related risks and return on investments for retrofits or acquisitions that can boost resiliency.

Building Technology | Jun 18, 2024

Could ‘smart’ building facades heat and cool buildings?

A promising research project looks at the possibilities for thermoelectric systems to thermally condition buildings, writes Mahsa Farid Mohajer, Sustainable Building Analyst with Stantec.

University Buildings | Jun 18, 2024

UC Riverside’s new School of Medicine building supports team-based learning, showcases passive design strategies

The University of California, Riverside, School of Medicine has opened the 94,576-sf, five-floor Education Building II (EDII). Created by the design-build team of CO Architects and Hensel Phelps, the medical school’s new home supports team-based student learning, offers social spaces, and provides departmental offices for faculty and staff. 

Codes and Standards | Jun 17, 2024

Federal government releases national definition of a zero emissions building

The U.S. Department of Energy has released a new national definition of a zero emissions building. The definition is intended to provide industry guidance to support new and existing commercial and residential buildings to move towards zero emissions across the entire building sector, DOE says.

Green | Jun 11, 2024

Tool helps construction and renovation projects with CalGreen compliance

One Click LCA recently launched a new software tool to help building teams comply with Part 11, Title 24, of the California Code of Regulations—CALGreen. The regulation is the nation’s first state-mandated green building code to include embodied carbon emission control as a mandatory component, effective from July 1, 2024.

Mass Timber | May 31, 2024

Mass timber a big part of Western Washington University’s net-zero ambitions

Western Washington University, in Bellingham, Wash., 90 miles from Seattle, is in the process of expanding its ABET-accredited programs for electrical engineering, computer engineering and science, and energy science. As part of that process, the university is building Kaiser Borsari Hall, the 54,000-sf new home for those academic disciplines that will include teaching labs, research labs, classrooms, collaborative spaces, and administrative offices.

MFPRO+ New Projects | May 29, 2024

Two San Francisco multifamily high rises install onsite water recycling systems

Two high-rise apartment buildings in San Francisco have installed onsite water recycling systems that will reuse a total of 3.9 million gallons of wastewater annually. The recycled water will be used for toilet flushing, cooling towers, and landscape irrigation to significantly reduce water usage in both buildings.

MFPRO+ News | May 28, 2024

ENERGY STAR NextGen Certification for New Homes and Apartments launched

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently launched ENERGY STAR NextGen Certified Homes and Apartments, a voluntary certification program for new residential buildings. The program will increase national energy and emissions savings by accelerating the building industry’s adoption of advanced, energy-efficient technologies, according to an EPA news release. 

HVAC | May 28, 2024

Department of Energy unveils resources for deploying heat pumps in commercial buildings

To accelerate adoption of heat pump technology in commercial buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy is offering resources and guidance for stakeholders. DOE aims to help commercial building owners and operators reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs by increasing the adoption of existing and emerging heat pump technologies. 

Resiliency | May 24, 2024

As temperatures underground rise, so do risks to commercial buildings

Heat created by underground structures is increasing the risk of damage to buildings, recent studies have found. Basements, train tunnels, sewers, and other underground systems are making the ground around them warmer, which causes soil, sand, clay and silt to shift, settle, contract, and expand.

boombox1
boombox2
native1

More In Category




halfpage1

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021