Why this guide?
The construction of buildings in BC is responsible for 7.5Mt of carbon emissions every year, that’s about 10% of all emissions produced within BC. These emissions are associated with the materials within a building and are known as the embodied carbon (or embodied emissions) of a building.
In order to meet our climate goals, the whole construction industry needs to dramatically change the way we design buildings, and to transition to low embodied carbon design quickly. The City of Vancouver has laid out it’s climate action road map, aiming to reduce all emissions by 40% by 2030 and to get to carbon negative by 2050.
There are many ways that designers and builders can reduce the embodied carbon of the buildings they are building, and many of these tools are available today, and at little or no additional cost:
Minimizing materials – whether that’s being more efficient with the materials that are being used, or by being more space efficient within the buildings.
Designing structures to work smarter, using material where it’s needed, and not overbuilding.
Choosing low carbon alternatives to traditional building products.
Although material EPD databases exist, it is not directly clear which of those materials are available within BC, or even within Canada. And for those products that are available, builders and contractors are often unclear on where to source them. This guide aims to serve designers by providing a list of materials that are readily available within BC, and also provide builders and contractors with direct links to suppliers of these materials.