Miller Hull

2023 Greenbuild International Conference + Expo: Brie McCarthy

Date: 9-28-2023
Time: 11:15-12:15am EST
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.

9-18-2023 | Events

Architect and Sustainability Analyst, Brie McCarthy, will be discussing “Embodied carbon benchmarking: the prerequisite to making meaningful impact reductions within the AEC industry,” at the Greenbuild International Conference + Expo.

Twenty years ago, the collective effort to establish energy use intensity (EUI) benchmarks was a catalyzing moment for measuring, comparing, and ultimately reducing the operational carbon impacts of buildings. Today we face a similar challenge around embodied carbon, as it is currently difficult to set benchmarks for the embodied carbon of buildings and equally challenging to set meaningful reduction goals to meet our global climate targets. As more designers begin to measure the embodied carbon of their projects, there is a significant opportunity to share resources, harmonize benchmarking efforts, and support the creation of a national embodied carbon database to help solve these challenges. In this session, two leading architecture firms (SERA and Miller Hull) will present their process, challenges, and lessons learned from creating embodied carbon benchmarks of their firm’s entire portfolios. They will share valuable findings like the top contributing materials across their projects, strategies for early-design goal setting, and what types of design decisions appear to be driving their lowest carbon projects. Additionally, the firms will share their efforts in standardizing whole-building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) across their firms and how these practices can be adopted by others. They will also highlight the challenges and data gaps they’ve encountered, and discuss the need for collaboration across firms and disciplines so that meaningful industry benchmarks can be established. Lastly, the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) will share work from their current WBLCA Benchmarking Study which aims to develop an open-access, high-quality, and harmonized dataset of WBLCA benchmarks for North America. The CLF’s work will help contextualize the practice of WBLCA and provide easily-accessible and free-of-charge resources that can bring audience members up to speed on current embodied carbon benchmarks, WBLCA reporting standards, and modeling best practices to improve tracking at both the firm level, and the industry at large.

Learning Objectives:

  • Synthesize published whole-building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) benchmarks, standards, and resources for comparing the embodied carbon of different projects and building parameters.
  • Apply lessons learned from architecture firms that track and benchmark embodied carbon across their project portfolios.
  • Understand the increasing need and urgency for standardized WBLCA modeling and benchmarking.
  • Identify trends in the type of projects, design decisions, assemblies, and materials that have the potential to significantly reduce embodied carbon emissions of buildings.

Other speakers include Brad Benke – Researcher with Carbon Leadership Forum and Lindsey Kahler – Architectural/Sustainability Designer with SERA Architects.

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Brie McCarthy


“Architecture is our synthetic extension of the natural world – it defines how, when and where we interact with the environment. It also memorializes culture, style, and politics in a unique way, like a timestamp of human history that gets rewritten whenever we decide a building no longer serves its purpose. Given the current state of…

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