Climate zones 6-7 material/assembly selection tool

Hi there - I’m working to develop a matrix of commonly used & alternative assemblies that meet high performance criteria in cold climates. I’d like the final product to something an architect could spend 30 minutes looking through & would impact the way they design single-family residences. I envision this being a tool that a local chapter of an ECN could produce, i.e. the Yellowstone chapter. I know chapters are financially independent of the greater organization, but it seems like it could become a template for every chapter to utilize. Do others see value in this & does anyone know of any funding for this sort of work?

If not, I might try a GoFundMe or something & reach out to my local industry colleagues to help fund it.


-Lindsey Love

1 Like

This is a great idea. I always envisioned something like this being developed for the whole US for the purposes of whole building LCA baseline. Something like ASHRAE’s baseline for energy modeling but for LCA, which would need to be more specific, hence, it’s a little more complex. It would definitely be valuable! I am not sure about funding sources but I wonder how much this would overlap with KieranTimberlake’s LCA benchmark initiative, @Roderick_Bates?

@lindselove, what is your planned approach to gathering the assembly information and determining how common they are? Would you send out a survey to the local builders?

@Vaclav I’m not familiar w/ Kieran Timberlake’s LCA initiative. Can you share a link? I am familiar w/ @chris1 /Endeavor Center’s Book Making Better Buildings, which is extremely comprehensive and IS a tool that applies across all climates.

I think a comprehensive/US-wide tool is just bigger than I have bandwidth for: I could imagine an app that you could put your project criteria into & it would spit out the choices & their implications. I personally am pretty good w/ spreadsheets, so gonna start there! As archaic as it might seem!

Regarding gathering assemblies: My region has a relatively limited selection of common/available assemblies so it should not be that hard to identify them. The key is common/available. But: I do like the idea of sending out a survey to local builders and architects as a way to engage & empower them! Thank you for the input! I’ll keep posting here & if you have any further suggestions/feedback, would be awesome!

1 Like

We’ve just finished the beta version of a low-rise building
materials emissions calculator that does exactly what’s described

Once we get feedback from the beta version, we should be putting
it out in the public at the Builders for Climate Action web site.




I also just remembered the old Athena EcoCalculator was setup this way, in excel with assemblies pre-defined and specific to a climate zone (based on a city selection). Athena has since shifted to the more sophisticated Impact Estimator tool and does not update this EcoCalculator, but here is a link to Athena’s site:

A screenshot from the calculator for residential assemblies for Los Angeles (ASHRAE zone 3) although I suspect the assemblies not necessarily represent common/available assemblies and rather all assemblies:

Chris, I’d love to be able to provide feedback on the beta version if possible. You are much faster than me!