Embodied Carbon Reduction in Residential Structures
Presented by Siegal Structural Engineers

April 2024

The team at Siegal Structural Engineers presented “Embodied Carbon Reduction in Residential Structures”. The presentation reviewed what is embodied carbon and the distinction between embodied carbon and operational carbon, where does it come from and why do we care, the production processes of the two primary contributors, and strategies to reduce the embodied carbon for different materials.

It is important to understand that 28% of global emissions come from building operations, and 21% comes from building materials. While three materials, concrete, steel, and aluminum are responsible for 23% of the total global emissions, where most of it is used in the built environment. With the proper building energy efficiency projects, we can reduce the operational carbon, while embodied carbon emissions are locked in place as soon as the building is built. Focusing on the emissions released now is more critical than emissions released later.

By making a choice today with what materials we select for our projects we can make a true impact on the future. Choosing concrete such as ECOPact by Aggregate Industries can reduce our GWP by 30-50%. When choosing steel, look at suppliers that reuse, operate on renewable energy, and look at low carbon options. Furthermore, with today’s technology we can reduce the volume of steel used by choosing alternative systems such as using wood in place of steel.

Awareness is key! Educating our teams, clients, developers, and builders is an important step in decarbonization. The largest potential impact on carbon reduction is at the earliest stages of a project. This starts with engaging design professionals in the planning stage. Then continued collaboration with your team and industry partners through every stage of the build.

Again, thank you to Siegal Structural Engineers. Steve Siegel (Principal & Founder), Allison Olinsky (PE, Project Engineer), Pru Thakor (Project Engineer), and Helene Woodvine (Associate Principal) provided an informative and insightful presentation.

Contact us today and let's talk about the future of your building.

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