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Embodied Carbon Benchmarking 

Embodied carbon in construction materials is increasingly a concern for building owners and designers. However, there has not been a way to compare embodied carbon among laboratory buildings, which have unique structural concerns and requirements. Based on lifecycle assessment (LCA) data submitted by volunteers, I2SL’s Laboratory Benchmarking Tool (LBT) has been expanded to include a database of LCA data related to the embodied carbon of materials used in lab building construction. LBT users can now benchmark lab buildings (either existing or in design) against selected peer group buildings with similar characteristics, including functional and structural requirements.


Currently, embodied carbon data in the LBT covers the “cradle-to-gate” lifecycle stages known as A1-A3 (i.e., raw material extraction, transportation of raw materials, and product manufacturing) for materials used to build lab structure and enclosure/shell building components (e.g., concrete, steel, masonry, aluminum, wood, insulation, cladding, glass).

The more LCA data entered in the LBT, the better the lab building embodied carbon benchmarking tool will be. While the LBT currently focuses on whole-building data, I2SL plans to add functionality to include minor renovations and tenant fit-outs that apply to just part of a building in the future. And once sufficient LCA data has been received to perform statistical analyses, I2SL plans to develop an Embodied Carbon Score as part of its Labs2Zero tools. 


Not sure where to start with your lab building’s life cycle analysis? Organizations such as the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) have resources available that demonstrate how project teams can measure and reduce embodied carbon in buildings.  And if you haven’t used the LBT before, this Quick-Start guide can help you understand the minimum data needed for benchmarking.

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Quick Start Guide
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