The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet”, and while it’s critical we celebrate the achievements the construction industry has made in sustainable building, we must also examine areas where we can improve. Between 2015 and 2050 worldwide, two trillion square feet of buildings are expected to be built or renovated, and the World Green Building Council estimates that construction materials account for approximately 11 percent of global carbon emissions. In order to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods, we must invest in construction technology that actively helps companies realize their sustainability targets and reduce carbon emissions.
One way Procore is working to invest in our planet is through the launch of a new integration with Building Transparency, a nonprofit organization with the mission to enable broad and swift action to address the construction industry’s role in climate change. The integration gives Procore users access to Building Transparency’s Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator tool (EC3), a free database that calculates the embodied carbon emissions associated with design and material procurement. By partnering with Building Transparency, Procore hopes to help specialty contractors, general contractors, and owners reduce embodied carbon emissions in construction.
Procore recently hosted its Spring 2022 Innovation Summit, our first product and customer showcase of the year. During the virtual event, I had the privilege of speaking one on one with Stacey Smedley, executive director of Building Transparency and the senior director of sustainability at Skanska USA. Throughout our conversation, Smedley and I discussed sustainable building practices, the future of green building, and Procore’s integration with Building Transparency.
Here are some highlights from our session:
How EC3 Can Make an Impact
Once generated, embodied carbon emissions cannot be reduced or eliminated from the atmosphere, therefore we must address these emissions at the time of design specification and procurement. By tracking and benchmarking construction emissions before the project begins, EC3 has a substantial impact on how we construct buildings and select materials that emit greenhouse gasses.
Future of Public Sector Environmental Policy
While policy on the private side has made some significant headway, the public sector still has the opportunity to drive meaningful change. Smedley suggests that public policymakers learn from private sector partners to better understand how construction stakeholders account for embodied carbon emissions. Instead of reinventing the wheel, the public sector must work together to create harmonized policy that enables us to decarbonize the global construction industry.
Educating the Industry About Climate-Conscious Development
To raise awareness and promote education about sustainable building, we can encourage organizations and individuals to talk to each other and share best practices. Carbon is ultimately a globally-mixed gas that affects everyone, in order to reach a state of carbon neutrality, Smedley affirms that the construction industry must increase collaboration and focus less on competition. The more we can trade resources, lessons learned, data, proposed policies, the closer we can get to achieving our shared climate goals.
With the right tools, technology, and people to do the job, we can help create solutions that will aid owners, builders and designers in reducing their carbon footprint. If you would like to see my full conversation with Stacey Smedley, it is now accessible on demand and free to watch.