21-0319 Custom BEAM Embodied Carbon Tool
Our team at Builders for Climate Action was hired to help a project meet the ZC certification. At the start of the design process, we used a beta version of our BEAM (Building Emissions Accounting for Materials) tool to help guide the design and material selection process, and we have completed a BEAM analysis of the finished project as well as modelling the building as it would have been built if we had not assisted in material selection.
Our tool is based on our own master list of EPDs, which we've gathered ourselves. You'll find them all referenced on the "Master Sheet" tab in our spreadsheet (I left that tab unlocked and accessible for you). We do a monthly scan for new EPDs to keep the master list up to date [currently numbering over 250].
Eventually, we will be using the EC3 database as our EPD source, and have an ongoing discussion with them about that. For now, they don't have all the building elements and materials needed for our tool's focus on low-rise buildings, but as they build out to include more product types we will align with them.
We are hoping that you will be willing to review and approve the BEAM tool for this purpose. BEAM uses current EPD data (and occasionally peer reviewed LCAs if no EPD exists in the product category) and uses A1-A3 cradle-to-gate data.
Based on information contained in the request and supplementary documentation submitted by the project team, ILFI finds that the proposed tool meets the criteria below regarding data source and maintenance, scope, and public availability, and approves its use.
Any team seeking approval for a custom tool will need to address and provide supporting documentation regarding these same criteria.
Criteria for Embodied Carbon Analysis Tool
- The database must be derived from third party verified information such as Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), or peer-reviewed LCA's. A maintenance plan must be in place that ensures the information in the database is kept current.
- A whole building LCA is preferred, but any tool must at a minimum assess stages A1-A3.
- The tool must be publicly available and non-proprietary.