Building Transparency shares roadmap to scale embodied carbon awareness

Building Transparency, a nonprofit organization that provides open access data and tools to foster the building industry, unveiled its roadmap to scale embodied carbon awareness and low-carbon procurement efforts.According to the organization, this includes efforts to harmonize carbon impact reporting by creating an open digital Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) standard format and establishing EPD programming in those regions where this effort has not yet begun.  

“It has never been more critical to align global efforts to understand, measure and reduce the emissions associated with the building industry,” said Stacy Smedley, Executive Director of Building Transparency. “For too long, efforts have been disparate and expensive, and the data that was available via EPDs was difficult to access. By scaling our efforts to standardize carbon data reporting and making it free and open access, we are mobilizing the global industry to accurately understand its climate impact in a standardized way.”     

Since its inception  in January 2020, Building Transparency prioritized driving adoption of its tools in North America, including the management and scaling of its Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3).

The nonprofit focused on user education, engagement and training, providing support for building owners and policymakers in setting standards and enabling compliance across the sector. Recognizing the challenges surrounding EPDs in North America alone, the organization created its digital standard language for easier EPD generation, known as openEPD. openEPD is a free, open access resource designed by Building Transparency and its software development partner C Change Labs.   

For the APAC region, the focus is on establishing EPD programming and program operators to begin standardizing how the carbon impact of building materials and products is reported. Notably, Building Transparency partners have recently provided funding to complete this APAC market effort, and the work is underway. 

“As the construction sector is one of the key contributors to Asia’s economic performance, ensuring that its key industry players have the tools and programming in place to measure, share and evaluate the embodied carbon impact of products is critical,” said Smedley. “We are looking at similar efforts in India and Africa as well, realizing the significant need for EPD programming in these regions where they have yet to standardize material data reporting. As we establish these programs, we are ensuring the new markets have to and can adopt the openEPD standard format, further aligning global efforts to improve transparency and ensure clear measurement across the global sector.” 

Obayashi Corporation, a Japanese construction company, recently became the latest pilot partner for EC3, signaling the company’s commitment to address embodied carbon’s role in climate change through construction materials transparency. This is the tool’s first partner with headquarters in Asia.   

In other regions, like Europe, where EPD programming already exists, the organization states that its focus is on harmonizing the data to one digital standard. Building Transparency is currently engaged in a formal partnership with European based Eco Platform on this work.

“With openEPD, we are catalyzing efforts across the building industry to cooperate and provide carbon impact data that informs carbon-conscious decision-making,” said Phil Northcott, CEO of C Change Labs. “Driving alignment and harmonization of this standard across the globe is key to drive large-scale climate action in the building sector.”

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