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Embodied carbon will be responsible for almost half of all new construction emissions between now and 2050.


From the CLF Hub and the BSA:

This is not your typical report! Thanks to the creativity of the team at Building Green, with leadership and guidance from the Boston Society for Architecture and the Boston/Northeast Hub of the Carbon Leadership Forum, you get to play a cooperative game to learn what we heard from over 100 participants across the industry including owners, architects, engineers, contractors, and ready mix suppliers. The team persevered to bring everyone to the table and truly listen to each stakeholders' unique perspective. We hope you enjoy playing while learning!

New! Download the report here!

About Us

The CLF Boston | Northeast Hub

CLF Boston | Northeast is a group that shares knowledge and identifies actions—immediate and long-term—for the AEC industry to address issues of embodied carbon in the built environment in the northeast and beyond. The group aims to reduce carbon emissions through design and through changes in procedural behaviors that impact carbon emissions.

CLF Boston | Northeast meets every other month. Several working groups—focused on developing specific programs and resources—meet monthly. We are a BSA Knowledge Community that is free and open to all. Please sign up below for more information.

Join our mailing list to get involved

About Us

What is CLF?

The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) is accelerating the transformation of the building sector to radically reduce the embodied carbon in building materials and construction through collective action.


CLF pioneers research, creates resources, fosters cross-collaboration, and incubates member-led initiatives to bring embodied carbon emissions of buildings down to zero.


The CLF network is made up of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, building owners, and policymakers who care about the future and are taking bold steps to decarbonize the built environment, with a keen focus on eliminating embodied carbon from buildings and infrastructure. 


Currently, the network brings together 5000+ professionals from 2500+ companies, 75+ countries, and 1000+ cities around the world

Join the Online
CLF Community

The CLF Community online platform brings together thousands of professionals from across the building industry, from over 30 countries and 100 cities around the world.

As a member, you can interact with a global network of interdisciplinary experts, where you can post questions, find resources, connect with local hubs, join focus groups, to keep track of upcoming events.  

To join the CLF Community online platform, become a member of CLF and and opt-in to join the online community when joining.

CLF Local Hubs 

As the online CLF Community grows, Regional Hubs are springing up across the United States and Canada and beginning in Europe and Asia.


How large are our embodied carbon emissions?


Globally, the building and construction sectors account for nearly 40% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in constructing and operating buildings (including the impacts of upstream power generation). Current building codes address operating energy but do not typically address the impacts ‘embodied’ in building materials and products. However, more than half of all GHG emissions are related to materials management (including material extraction and manufacturing) when aggregated across industrial sectors. As building operations become more efficient, these embodied impacts related to producing building materials become increasingly significant.


Why does embodied carbon matter?


Between now and 2060 the world’s population will be doubling the amount of building floor-space, equivalent to building an entire New York City every month for 40 years. Much of the carbon footprint of these new buildings will take the form of embodied carbon — the emissions associated with building material manufacturing and construction.

Unlike operational carbon emissions, which can be reduced over time with building energy efficiency renovations and the use of renewable energy, embodied carbon emissions have irreversibly entered the atmosphere as soon as a building is built.


Embodied Carbon Policy in Massachusetts 


City of Boston - Article 37 and Zero Net Carbon Update Recommendations (Zoning)

As part of the process to revise the current Article 37 green building zoning, the City of Boston assembled four technical advisory groups, TAG’s, that met and worked over the majority of 2021.

Cambridge Net Zero Action Plan 2021 (Zoning)

A Net Zero Action Plan that was first enacted in 2015 and was updated in 2021. One of the recommended adjustments for the 2021 update includes, for new construction: Action 2.2- Address embodied carbon through green building requirements’.

Brookline Fall 2021 Resolution for Embodied Carbon Reduction in Concrete (Procurement)

Resolution passed town meeting unanimously for 10% reduction in concrete. Because it is a resolution for town projects and infrastructure only, this can be adopted immediately.

MA EO 594 Leading by Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing Environmental Impacts of State Government, issued April 2021

Has one line for embodied carbon analysis:

 Under Category 1: Advancing high performance buildings for new construction;
Section 3 states: Projects must “Evaluate and implement strategies to reduce embodied carbon contained in building materials, where possible and cost-effective.”

Certification Systems that Address Embodied Carbon


LEED v4.1

Through the MRc1: Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction credit, projects can receive 1 LEED point just for performing an LCA study and up to 5 points for a 20% reduction in embodied carbon relative to a baseline building. 


CaGBC - ZCB Design v2

Requires calculating embodied carbon emissions through an LCA study starting at the Schematic Design phase. Also required to apply two "Impact and Innovation" strategies. 2 of the 5 pre-approved strategies are:

  1. An embodied carbon reduction of at least 20% compared to a baseline building.

  2. Upfront carbon emissions equal to or less than zero.

In ZCB Performance v2, embodied emissions are required to be offset.

ILFI Zero Carbon Certification

Projects must demonstrate a 10% reduction in embodied carbon and not exceed 500 kgCO2e/m2, with remaining embodied emissions offset through an approved carbon offset provider.

ILFI Living Building Challenge - Energy Petal

Projects must demonstrate a 20% reduction in embodied carbon, with remaining embodied emissions offset through an approved carbon offset provider.

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