21-0601 Embodied Carbon of Interior Materials at Muhlenberg College


Imperative 4 Energy + Carbon Reduction, Requirement 4: All projects must select interior materials with lower than industry average carbon footprint for product categories for which embodied carbon data is readily available. 

Narrative: The project team plans to verify selected interior materials (carpet, ceiling tile, gypsum wallboard) have lower embodied carbon emissions than industry average using available EPDs and EC3. However, it is not clear how to verify this when materials do not have available EPD information. The Handbook states an acceptable baseline approach is a “review of comparable products in the same material category that reflect common industry practice for the building type and region”. In this case, the project team must submit the proposal to the Dialogue for preapproval.” Does this mean finding a product with available EPD that is most similar to our project-specific products, and proposing why they are most similar? Please confirm if this is correct, or if an alternative path should be pursued to demonstrate compliance.


When project teams source interior materials that do not have EPDs, they are permitted to use the embodied carbon data from a similar product that does have an EPD, justifying the similarity of these products and proving they would likely have similar embodied carbon values. The project team must also advocate to the manufacturer from which they sourced the product without an EPD. 

The project team should use the established baseline in EC3 for the respective interior material to confirm that their product (in this case the data from a similar product with an EPD) falls below this baseline.

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