Embodied Carbon + Codes

Hi all - Seattle is updating our codes. The energy code has largely switched new buildings to all-electric heat pumps (we have very low-carbon electricity around here). Nothing in the code addresses embodied carbon.

I am not sure if embodied carbon requirements actually belong in codes or whether they are a better as another type of policy. If they are in code they need to be enforceable by code officials to whom this is a very new subject, so they need to be simple and consistent.

I downloaded the draft Denver embodied carbon codes for Steel and Concrete. These appear to not be ‘in force’ yet so we don’t know how it will function in the real world, correct? Has anyone worked with the Marin County concrete code to see if it is functional yet flexible enough? What other examples of codes that require EPDs and reductions/limits are there?


We have abided by the guidelines of the Marin County low carbon concrete code here in Malibu on multiple projects and it’s practical, easy to use and pretty understandable for the contractors. Happy to chat about it with you if you want. Shoot me an email if you want scott@lowcarboninitiative.org

Recommend to also check out the CLF Embodied Carbon Educational Series Session 4 on Building Codes and Embodied Carbon. We go into a variety of different policy precedents including Marin, Denver, etc.