Embodied Carbon: Implementation in Construction

Morgan Neal, HOK
Christopher Rampton, JE Dunn Construction

To meet embodied carbon goals for concrete structures, project teams must consider the mix designs that will be used. Getting the right mix design to achieve these goals and others (strength, cure time, workability, etc) requires input from all parties concerned with the concrete structure. The following topics will be addressed:

  • Identify concrete supplier capabilities/limits/cost. If any form of carbon curing is desired, it needs to be discussed early during the schematic phase, in case supplier availability is limited.
  • Mix designs that are designed to meet embodied carbon goals often have lower cement content. This can result in longer cure times when fly ash is used as the cement reducer. These longer cure times must be considered in the development of the project schedule.
  • There are different implications for structural elements (columns, beams) than slabs. Columns and beams with slower cure times can result in more time before reshores can be removed and interior work can begin. Slabs with slower cure times require more time before the slab can be finished.
  • Projects with mass concrete considerations should consider these implications: time and effort to determine mix design, developing thermal control plan, incorporating longer cure times in project schedule and pour plans, temp sensor procurement, installation & monitoring, blankets, temp heat, and consultant assistance.
  • Mass concrete versus embodied carbon: The goals are different, but the implications are related. Cement replacement is the primary tool for both.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how sustainable design goals can influence construction scheduling, planning, and cost;
  • Understand the importance collaboratively working together across design and construction teams to determine what concrete mix designs will achieve sustainability goals and meet the schedule and cost demands of construction projects;
  • Gain insight on strategies to accommodate slower concrete cure times and avoid negative cost and schedule impacts during construction; and
  • Incorporate other, related aspects of concrete structure construction (mass concrete, seasons/weather/climate, supplier capabilities) into the design and construction plan to complement, and not conflict with, embodied carbon goals.


Morgan Neal is an Associate Project Engineer at HOK in Atlanta. Her portfolio includes new and existing structures in various sectors including healthcare, education, and workplace. With 10 years of experience, she has led project deliverables in all aspects of building design, construction, and retrofit.

Christopher Rampton is a Senior Project Manager helping to lead JE Dunn Construction's team for the Emory University Health Sciences Research Building II. He graduated from The Georgia Institute of Technology and has been working on Healthcare, Mission Critical, and Science & Technology projects for 15 years.


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