Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Laura Seidman

Abstract

Global climate change is one of the most impactful environmental issues in modern times, and the construction industry is known to be one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions—one of the key causes of climate change. Embodied carbon emissions of buildings are an often overlooked, but significant, influencer of a building’s overall carbon footprint. This gives rise to the need for improved life cycle analysis of buildings and identification of opportunities to reduce the total carbon footprint of a building throughout its life cycle. This paper analyzes the current state of the building industry that limits the consideration of reducing embodied carbon in buildings, evaluates opportunities available for identifying low embodied carbon strategies, and offers recommendations for manufacturing optimization, construction best practices, and policy framework implementation to appropriately integrate consideration of all carbon emissions in construction to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building industry. For successful reduction of embodied carbon, streamlined assessment models must be established and policy must be implemented, in order to encourage innovation for carbon footprint reduction in the marketplace. Proper collaboration, communication, and education are critical for effective, overall carbon reduction.