Taking Action on Embodied Carbon

What is Embodied Carbon and Why is it Important?

Embodied carbon is the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building and infrastructure materials. The emissions that come from embodied carbon account for between 11-23% of global annual emissions.  In spite of the staggering impact embodied carbon has on the climate crisis, local health, and equity, it is still rarely included in our local and statewide efforts to reduce emissions from buildings. In order for us to transform our buildings from climate polluters to climate protectors, we must address embodied carbon as well as operational carbon.

Use this summary of embodied carbon to learn more and identify steps that can be taken to reduce these harmful emissions

Take Action

Use MCAN’s Embodied Carbon Toolkit: This toolkit sets out to assist advocates in calling for their state legislators and local officials to advance policies that will address, measure, and reduce embodied carbon emissions – greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building and infrastructure materials. 

You will find resources, documents, email templates, and sample tweets to assist you in your advocacy. 

Reach out to your legislators and ask them to support legislation that seeks to reduce embodied carbon.

Steps to Reduce Embodied Carbon Across the Commonwealth

Statewide Action 

In 2023, three bills were filed in Massachusetts to address embodied carbon. Find MCAN’s One Pager on all three embodied carbon legislation. 

(S.1982/H.3002) An Act Relative to the Use of Low-Embodied Carbon Concrete in State Projects. H.3002/S.1982 One Page Summary:

Sponsors: Representative Cahill, Senator Creem

What the Bill Does:

(H.3035/S.1981)  An Act requiring state procurement of low-carbon building materials. H.3035/S.1981 One Page Summary: 

Sponsors: Representative Garballey, Senator Creem

What the Bills Does:

(H.764/S.2090) An Act Incorporating Embodied Carbon into State Climate Policy. H.764/S.2090 One Page Summary

Sponsors: Rep. Ciccolo & Rep. Owens, Sen Comerford

What the Bill Does:


See MCAN’s 2023-2024 Legislative Priorities

Local Action

Locally, communities can reduce embodied carbon by incorporating provisions into their climate action plans and zoning policies. Specifically, communities should require a Whole-Building Life-Cycle Analysis (WBLCA) as part of their zoning policies and eventually implement emissions reduction requirements. Additional solutions that advance building material reuse and incorporate increased LEED requirements in zoning requirements can also be implemented. 

Municipalities across the Commonwealth are beginning to adopt policies and practices that contribute to the measurement and reduction of embodied carbon. 

Examples of this progress include:

Learn More About Local Action:






  • Resolution to mandate low carbon concrete in all municipal construction

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