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Embodied Carbon Action Plans (ECAP)

Embodied Carbon Action Plan Requirements

One of the key components to becoming a signatory of the SE 2050 Commitment is creating an Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP) that is consistent with the main tenets of SE 2050: ‘Act, Implement, and Share’.  For many creating this plan will serve as an important first step in engaging in embodied carbon reductions.

We hope that the ECAP will serve as:

  1. An actionable, firm-wide strategy for developing sustainable design best practices
  2. A measurement framework with a continual focus on evaluation, adaptation, and improvement.
  3. A long-term planning tool to ensure ongoing alignment of values, goals, and practice.
  4. An information-sharing platform that enables communicating firm values to clients and peers.

Before documenting your ECAP we advise you first to engage the firm.  Have a firm-wide discussion on what your firms’ values are and where they align with sustainability.  This is a time to evaluate what best practices the first is currently engaged in and where it wants to be and how those best practices reveal themselves on projects.  Have the conversation.

Each firms’ ECAP should be composed of the following four sections at a minimum: Education, Reporting, Reduction, and Advocacy.  While there are no mandatory requirements we strongly recommend the following items be addressed within each section. Your firms’ ECAP should be evaluated and updated every 5 years.  See published ECAPs here for examples to help you get started.

Education

The first step to building engagement within your firm is through education. We all should strive to understand the impacts of our design decisions and the effects they have on our environment.

Address how you plan to:

  • Share the SE 2050 Commitment with your office
  • Educate employees on how to measure and report embodied carbon
  • Educate employees on carbon reduction strategies

Create a Reporting Plan

We ask that provide the Program with structural material quantities and/or embodied carbon impacts for all of your projects.  In the first year you are only required to provide 25% of your projects as we expect a data upload learning curve. Click here for a summary of what we require for each project at a minimum.

To successfully implement high quality data upload we recommend creating a reporting plan within the ECAP that identifies the following:

  • Who will be in charge of managing the data upload?  Will each project manager be responsible for their own projects?
  • When will you upload your data?  We recommend uploading within one week of submitting Construction Documents.
  • How will you perform quality control over the data that has been uploaded?

Carbon Reduction Strategies

You are one of many firms that must employ strategies for embodied carbon reductions to scale successfully.  But we recognize that each firm is different with different business models and workflows that will determine how a firm best employs firm wide strategies.  We ask that you outline what your focus will be and how you will implement then. The following are a few questions to help get you started.

  • Where does your firm stand with respect to the national benchmarks?
  • Can you find ways on all your projects to reduce embodied carbon?
  • How will you engage on projects and demonstrate your ability to reduce embodied carbon on the project?
  • Does your project allow for salvaged materials?
  • Are you employing performance-based strategies?
  • Are you collaborating with other design team members for greatest impact?

Advocacy

True change can only come from industry-wide adoption. Consider planning opportunities to share your experience and knowledge within your firm, with your design community, and beyond. Host a webinar or lunch and learn, attend a conference, connect with the SEI Sustainability Committee, or reach out to manufacturers and policy-makers.

As part of your ECAP, how do you plan to:

    • Share knowledge and data to accelerate adoption of embodied carbon reduction?
    • Encourage industry and policy change incentivizing availability of low-carbon and carbon sequestration materials?

**Upload your ECAP here.

Action Plan Requirements

The ECAP is composed of four sections: Education, Reporting, Reduction, Advocacy and ECAP sharing. Get started now with the SE 2050 ECAP form.

Education

The first step to building engagement within your firm is through education. We all should strive to understand the impacts of our design decisions and the effects they have on our environment.

Address how you plan to:

    • Share the SE 2050 Commitment with your office.
    • Participate in the education programs provided by SE 2050.
    • Communicate the embodied carbon reduction timeline required by SE 2050.
    • Educate employees on carbon reduction strategies with Top 10 Carbon Reducing Actions for Structural Engineers and the SE 2050 library of resources.
    • Educate employees on how to measure and report embodied carbon.
    • Select and equip an Embodied Carbon Reduction champion for your office.

Layout how you and your company plan to spread the word about SE 2050, build an educational foundation for why this is important, and catalyze adoption.

Available resources:

    • Use our sample presentation.
    • Join the Embodied Carbon Network.

Create a Reporting Plan

Have a discussion in your office to identify projects well-suited for assessment. How do you plan to report embodied carbon numbers? How do you plan to incorporate carbon reduction strategies into design?

Potential project considerations:

    • Stage of design
    • Level of BIM modeling accuracy
    • The simplicity of building assemblies
    • Client interest
    • Cost of project

You will be asked to submit embodied carbon data on a number of projects. View more information about levels of commitment here.

Available resources:

    • Data input template
    • Available Embodied Carbon Tools
    • *Modeling for Embodied Carbon Best Practices

Carbon Reduction Strategies

As part of your commitment and contribution to SE 2050, you too will have access to the database to benchmark future designs and track carbon reduction targets as well as samples of other published ECAPs.

Important Questions:

    • Where is your firm now?
    • What is your goal for a year from now?
    • …5 years?
    • …2030?

Project Specific:

    • Is there flexibility to use re-use or performance-based specifications on a project?
    • Have you compared multiple material choices?
    • Have you considered how you can collaborate with other members of the design team to reduce embodied carbon?

ECAPs should be updated at least every five years to assess and adjust to changes in policy, technology, and the building industry.

Available resources:

Advocacy

True change can only come from industry-wide adoption. Consider planning opportunities to share your experience and knowledge within your firm, with your design community, and beyond. Host a webinar or lunch and learn, attend a conference, connect with the SEI Sustainability Committee, or reach out to manufacturers and policy-makers.

As part of your ECAP, how do you plan to:

    • Share knowledge and data to accelerate adoption of embodied carbon reduction?
    • Encourage industry and policy change incentivizing availability of low-carbon and carbon sequestration materials?

More information, events, and communities can be found through our Trusted Partners.

Available resources:

    • Architecture 2030 & the 2030 Palette (here)
    • SE2050 Mentorship Program

Share your plan

You’ve made the commitment, now share how you’ll get there!

Published Embodied Carbon Action Plans

  • Sample Embodied Carbon Reduction Plan
  • Company X – 2020
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