Embodied Carbon Cities Policy Toolkit

This resource library was made in partnership with C40 Cities.

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Benchmarking and Roadmaps to Zero

These resources include frameworks and examples to help your team establish embodied carbon benchmarks and chart a path to zero embodied carbon over time.

Achieving Zero Framework:

Achieving Zero is a framework of integrated polices for governments to phase out CO2 emissions in the built environment by 2040. The Achieving Zero Framework’s key implementation strategies occur at building intervention points that align building energy upgrades — energy efficiency and electrification retrofits plus the addition and/or procurement of non-carbon-emitting renewable energy — with existing capital improvement and major renovation cycles. The framework also utilizes a zero-net-carbon building standard — the ZERO Code — and guidelines for incorporating building materials that have low or zero embodied carbon emissions.

Roadmap to Reaching Zero Embodied Carbon in Federal Building Projects:

A comprehensive roadmap to demonstrate how federal agencies can lead on climate through low-embodied-carbon policies and procurement standards.

Builders for Climate Action Low-Embodied Carbon Housing Studies:

Four unique benchmark studies for the Canadian federal government and the cities of Vancouver, Toronto, and Nelson that examine the embodied carbon of new homes to establish the benchmark levels of emissions and pathways to reductions of 40–100 percent. The studies include recommendations for policymakers.

Building and Infrastructure Consumption Emissions:

A report by C40 that describes building and infrastructure construction emissions in detail and what cities can do to reduce these emissions by 2030.

Please reach out to RMI and C40 Cities for other embodied carbon resources to support your city’s efforts to lead the reduction of embodied carbon in construction:

This resource library was inspired by a 2022 workshop series co-hosted by C40 and RMI for city officials seeking to implement embodied carbon reduction strategies. The resources included in the library were shared by the workshop attendee group and were developed the following organizations: American Institute of Architects, Architecture 2030, Architects Declare, Athena Sustainable Materials Institute, Buildings as Material Banks, Builders for Climate Action, Building Transparency, Carbon Leadership Forum, Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, EHDD, Government Alliance on Race and Equity, Greenlining Institute, Mantle Developments, New Buildings Institute, OneClick LCA, Pacific Coast Collaborative, Sustainable Procurement Pledge, and the following municipalities: Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Boulder, CO; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; London, England; Milan, Italy; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Toronto, Canada; and Vancouver, Canada.