Part 2: Seeing the forest from the trees: Reducing EPD myopia - Dec blog post

Twinsburg, Ohio
LCA results office
Blog by Helen Sanders and Alexandra Blakeslee
LCA results office
The breakdown of the contributions to the embodied carbon of the core and shell of a prototype office building. Photo: Courtesy of Anthony Pak, Priopta

As the need to reduce carbon emissions becomes more acute, design teams must focus on reducing embodied carbon in their buildings. In last month’s blog, we identified the biggest drivers, including the decision to build in and of itself, as well as building size, extending service life and then reducing the largest impacts due to structural concrete and steel. The drive to reduce embodied carbon is also leading architects to request environmental product declarations (EPDs) for insulating glass. But are insulating glass EPDs important for design decision making?

This month, I am joined again by my colleague, Alexandra Blakeslee, to explore how to approach carbon emissions-focused design decisions for glass, and especially how to use (or not) EPDs in this product category. We conclude that using EPDs for insulating glass sourcing decisions is largely irrelevant. The most important factors are in the architectural design decisions, such as insulating glass make-up and lifespan, not where the glass comes from.

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