February 23, 2023

What is embodied carbon and how is it different from operational carbon?

Embodied carbon refers to the carbon emissions released during the extraction, manufacturing, transportation, construction, and end-of-life phases of buildings. Unlike operational carbon emissions, which can be reduced over time with building energy efficiency renovations and the use of renewable energy, embodied carbon emissions are locked in place once the building is built. Evolution of the energy codes over the last three decades has offered a significant decrease in operational carbon emissions. Only recently has more information become available to help builders and designers make decisions regarding reducing embodied carbon. 

Learn More

The International Code Council (ICC) has developed a Net Zero Energy and Decarbonization Toolkit to help guide users when making decisions about building materials and products. This resource is for states, tribes, local jurisdictions, and other organizations interested in developing and implementing advanced energy efficiency and carbon reduction goals.

To learn more about decarbonization strategies, consider signing up for an IREC webinar on March 21 focused on Commercial Building Electrification Pathways. Register here.

Looking for further information about high performance buildings, energy storage, solar, and more? Visit the Clean Energy Clearinghouse for an expanded list of expert resources and CEU’s: