Questions for scope 3 reduction emission - embodied carbon baseline setting

Hi everyone,

I’m developing the reduction target for scope 3 emissions for our company, and especially in setting a target related to embodied carbon intensity (which is a key item in our plan). However, we have encountered some challenges and I’m trying to work our way through the following questions:

  1. How to choose the format of the embodied carbon intensity baseline - should it be on a project basis or portfolio basis? Our company has developing projects in different areas, so there are pros and cons either way.
  2. If we choose a project-based embodied carbon intensity target, how should we decide on the baseline and comparison stages (e.g., design in tendering stage, schematic design stage, detail design stage, or even construction stage)? For now, we are thinking of comparing the building information in tendering stage with detail design stage, but we are not sure if there is a recent standard or practice addressing this issue, or if CLF has guidance on this matter.
  3. If we choose a portfolio-based target, I understand CLF and RICS have study on embodied carbon benchmarks for different project types. However, the benchmarks are normally shown in a range instead of a specific number. Is it possible to set a specific number for the whole portfolio baseline? Does anyone know if there is are recent studies or discussions on this topic?

Thank you all and I’d be grateful if anyone would have some recommendations or thoughts.

Best,
Viki

Hi Viki - we at the Port Authority are also thinking our way through baselining embodied carbon and seeing if we can align it with our climate ambitions. I have been looking at the CLF’s low baseline (20th percentile) as a start for embodied carbon for concrete, knowing we’d have excursions for high early strength mixes.

Dorian

Hi Viki,

I have seen baselines set by studying a handful of existing projects in a company’s portfolio and arriving at a carbon intensity per SF. I’ve seen this in cases where a dominant building type is considered (all commercial, residential, or offices). If your portfolio is diversified, then I’d suggest getting those average intensities for each use type (similar to how CLF categorizes their benchmarks).

Hi Dorian - thanks for sharing your approach for concrete, we are also thinking similar approach to set material specification for key building materials such as steel, rebar and concrete. That’s a very good suggestion and really appreciate it!

Hi Andres - many thanks for the suggestion for baseline! LETI also has a similar benchmark with different bands for dominant building types. Please see embodied carbon target for more information. I just wonder if we use the average carbon intensities as baseline, given our building design (like building geometry and mixture of material) is different and our own data is not as comprehensive as CLF or LETI’s database, could those figures be representative? Thanks.