Embodied Carbon Intensity Diagrams

Included on this page are Embodied Carbon Intensity Diagrams (ECIDs) for some typical framing schemes for various building types.  The main intent of these diagrams is educational, and to provide a range of embodied carbon values for the analyzed bays to inform the practicing structural engineer of embodied carbon intensity for framing schemes considered typical.  These could also be used to back check your own assessments or even as a general guide for early design embodied carbon estimates.


  1. SE 2050 Committee members wrote the design rules for the bays and established the parameters for each bay.
  2. At least three structural engineers designed each bay.
  3. Three Life Cycle Analysts each used a different commercially available software to perform LCAs for each of the designs.
  4. Results (at least 9 LCAs per bay) were compiled and summarized.


These analyses include only the horizontal framing inside one typical interior bay.  Vertical members such as columns are not included.  Other elements such as lateral members, foundations, and non-structural elements are not included.  These findings are not meant to be extrapolated to full buildings.

ECIDs are for educational purposes only.  SE 2050 recognizes that represented bays are not functionally equivalent and therefore direct comparisons between them should not be made.  The ECIDs should not be used to compare dislike materials.

Floor Framing Schemes


The plot below summarizes the findings of this study so far by displaying the range of embodied carbon intensities for each of the framing schemes studied to date.

Key Takeaways

  • The framing system and bay layout chosen has a big impact on embodied carbon, but there also exists room for carbon optimization by structural engineers within set boundaries.
  • Commercially available LCA softwares sometimes use different LCI databases for materials, and LCA technicians must employ judgment when performing LCAs, leading to variation in GWPs
  • The decision to include or exclude the effects biogenic carbon has a large impact on timber structures

Future Work

The SE 2050 Committee plans to expand both the breadth and depth of this study.  Please look out for additional typical bays and insights.


The following individuals made substantial contributions to the embodied carbon intensity diagrams.

Brian McSweeney, TLC Engineering Solutions

Dirk Kestner, Walter P. Moore

Kelsey Price, Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Matt Kantner, EQUILIBRIUM Consulting Inc.

Megan Stringer, Holmes Structures

Russ Miller-Johnson, Engineering Ventures

Jay Arehart, University of Colorado Boulder

Ruthwik Chepuri, Walter P Moore

Victoria Herrero-Garcia, Ambient Energy

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