Beyond Energy Efficiency: Why Embodied Carbon in Buildings Matters NOW

June 10, 2020, 3:30 - 5:00 PM EST

Please join us for our June webinar:

Description: Professionals in the building industry committed to energy efficiency have done an amazing job over the last few decades to dramatically reduce energy consumption, from enclosure enhancements to mechanical improvements and beyond. However, buildings are still responsible for nearly 50% of annual greenhouse gas emissions in the US, so clearly there is more to be done. Upwards of 20% of that total include embodied carbon emissions released during the manufacturing and assembly of construction materials, mostly released before the buildings are even occupied. Given the very short window of time we have to dramatically reduce emissions in our industry to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis, it is all the more imperative that we address these upfront embodied carbon emissions with the same focus and urgency that we bring to building efficiency and renewable energy. In particular, we will examine precedents and strategies for incorporating embodied carbon into policy and regulatory structures, including how incorporating embodied carbon into the HERS Index could help enact industry change so as to more quickly reach our industry's emission reduction targets before it is too late.


Jacob Deva Racusin is co-owner of New Frameworks Natural Design/Build, offering services in green remodeling, new construction, consultation, and education featuring low-impact high-performance building technologies. Through his work as a designer, builder, consultant, and educator, Jacob is able to merge his passions for fine craft, ecological stewardship, relationship to place, and social justice. Jacob is Program Director of the Certificate in Building Science and Net Zero Design at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and is a BPI-certified contractor and Certified Passive House Consultant. Jacob is the author of the books Essential Building Science, and The Natural Building Companion which he co-authored with Ace McArleton. An active member of the Embodied Carbon Network’s Renewable Materials Task Force, Jacob has been active in introducing sustainability measures into building codes, including the IRC and the Vermont Residential Building Energy Standard.

Chris Magwood is currently the executive director of The Endeavour Centre, a not-for-profit sustainable building school in Peterborough, Ontario. The school runs a full-time certificate programs – Sustainable Building and Design – and hosts dozens of hands-on workshops annually. In 2019, he helped to establish Builders for Climate Action, which will be rolling out a set of tools and policy options to help governments, designers and builders reverse climate change with their buildings. Chris has authored seven books on sustainable building, including Essential Sustainable Home Design (2017). He is co-editor of the Sustainable Building Essentials series from New Society Publishers, and recently, he contributed a chapter to the book The New Carbon Architecture. In 1998 he co-founded Camel’s Back Construction, and over eight years helped to design and/or build more than 30 homes and commercial buildings, mostly with straw bales and often with renewable energy systems. Chris has completed an MA at Trent University. His thesis, Opportunities for Carbon Removal and Storage in Building Materials which was published in the fall of 2019.Chris is an active speaker and workshop instructor in Canada and internationally.

Contact: Betsy Ames at 978.633.3013