H.764/S.2090 An Act Incorporating Embodied Carbon into State Climate Policy accelerates state-level action to reduce embodied carbon across the Commonwealth’s built environment. It takes critical steps to address this little-known, but critical, source of global emissions by establishing a state advisory board to address embodied carbon; requiring DOER to put forward recommendations and best practices for measuring and reducing embodied carbon; requiring a report outlining effective regulation strategies for reducing embodied carbon; and incorporating the measurement and reduction of embodied carbon into the stretch and specialized stretch energy code.
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, embodied carbon is still rarely included in our local and statewide efforts to reduce emissions from buildings. In order for us to transform our buildings and systems from climate polluters to climate protectors, we must address embodied carbon as well as operational carbon.
What this Legislation Does
Why this Legislation is Important
1) Establishes a State Advisory Board to Identify Effective Approaches to Reduce Embodied Carbon: In order to advance effective solutions for embodied carbon we need input from a diverse array of stakeholders including building practitioners, manufacturers, architects, state officials, and environmental justice communities. This bill enables a process for stakeholders to provide input on how our state should approach the complex but important issue of embodied carbon
2) Holistically Incorporates Embodied Carbon into Our State’s Climate Action: Many efforts to address embodied carbon across the country focus on state procurement processes. While state procurement is a critical piece of reducing embodied carbon, this legislation goes beyond it by establishing systems and processes whereby the reduction of embodied carbon can be holistically incorporated into state climate policy overall.
3) Takes Substantive Action to Require the Assessment and Reduction of Embodied Carbon in New Buildings: While this bill is largely focused on establishing effective processes to identify, plan, and recommend the next steps to reduce embodied carbon, the legislation also goes beyond planning and takes critical action. Specifically, the bill requires the incorporation of the reduction of embodied carbon into updated versions of the stretch and specialized stretch building codes. Taking this step will serve as a powerful strategy to reduce embodied carbon in all new buildings and major renovations.
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For the next decade the best climate actions may be to NOT build what isn’t absolutely necessary.
And to make the best use of what is already built.