The building industry is rapidly accelerating the deployment of carbon reduction methods. Dodge Construction Network released a new report that reveals 81% of structural engineers and 69% of contractors working with concrete are tracking the embodied carbon on their projects, and about one-third are already actively reducing it.
The research is called “Building Sustainably: The Drive to Reduce Embodied Carbon in Concrete Construction, SmartMarket Brief and is published in collaboration with sustainable concrete innovator CarbonCure and Bio Graphene Solutions.
The report concludes the building industry is actively seeking to reduce emissions of constructions with demand from building owners for sustainability searching at the highest level ever recorded.
Building owners’ preferences are the most important driver of change in construction. According to the research, 94% of engineers and contractors report that clients are requesting reductions of embodied carbon on their projects.
More than half (56%) of the engineers and contractors are reported to work with owners with ESG commitments and nearly three quarters (73%) of them have observed an increase in the number of owners with these commitments in just the past year.
The findings also reveal engineers and contractors are very familiar with the tools needed to track embodied carbon.
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One of these tools is called environmental product declarations (EPDs) and quantifies the environmental impact of building products. Nearly all (98%) of engineers and contractors use EPDs on at least some of their projects, and 55% use them on all projects, whenever available.
The report shows the broad engagement with EPDs is surging – 68% of those using them report that their use increased just in the last year and 63% of engineers and contractors report that most of their clients ask for EPDs on their projects.
Life cycle assessments (LCAs) of projects that include carbon measurements are also deployed by 78% of engineers and contractors on at least some of their projects.
“The construction industry’s future will be built on innovation, which is why we’re proud to be a leader in advancing low carbon solutions for concrete… This vital new research confirms what we’ve seen developing: the unprecedented demand for low embodied carbon concrete products, and for broadly available, robust LCAs. This increasing demand across the private and public sectors is accelerating the transformation of concrete into a global climate solution,” said CarbonCure Technologies Chair and CEO, Rob Niven.
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Just measuring and tracking construction projects’ embodied carbon, however, is not enough to lower the emissions of the building industry. The report conveys important facts that green concrete products are already present in the market.
41% of engineers and contractors already use cement produced via carbon mineralization to reduce its associated carbon emissions. In addition, approaches that replace harmful chemicals are also emerging, with one-quarter of engineers and contractors using concrete products utilizing these approaches.