Low Embodied Carbon Specification and Procurement Guide

Alex Johnstone, Clara Bagenal George, Clare Murray, Clodagh Cant, Duncan Cox, Elaine Toogood, Erica Russell, Francesca De Petris, Joe Jack Williams, Julia Messenger, Kallum Desai, Louisa Bowles, Magdalena Kraska, Milena Stojkovic, Mirko Farnetani, Nancy Jonsson, Nuno Correia, Phil Obayda, Romane Sanchez, Sidonie Immler, Simon Perks and Sukriye (Rae) Robinson

This guide has been created to support designers and contractors who are facing the difficult task of trying to reduce embodied carbon without a clear roadmap to follow. When LETI started work on this guide we were determined that it would offer practical advice that could be applied at different scales of building.

We have consulted widely with industry experts to provide their thoughts on how to manage the procurement process and specifications, offering you an approach which we hope you can develop and adopt to your projects. This work includes an embodied carbon reduction roadmap for projects, suggesting how embodied carbon reduction can be brought into the early stages of the design process, as well as learning from the final build. This document also includes guidance on material efficiency and
specification, provided in a series of material guides and finally, three case studies, specifically chosen to illustrate the embodied carbon reduction roadmap.

Using the expertise of our LETI volunteers we mapped out our initial ideas, guided by only a few examples. However, as we have refined the contents, we have seen many elements of the approach provided in this guide being used by major clients, designers,
engineers and contractors. Whilst we know that low embodied carbon contracts are not yet seen on all major projects, and only a few smaller ones, it is important that the lessons learned from these major contracts can be utilised by others that seek to introduce low embodied carbon specification and procurement practices. We have tried to illustrate the importance of this multi-tier supply chain approach in the three case studies within this guide.

We accept that implementation of reduction in embodied carbon through procurement is still in its infancy, many elements are still being tested and that this guide can only be a point-in-time assessmentof current practices. Yet, we hope that it allows the industry to bring embodied carbon to the attention of more clients and provides all tiers within the supply chain an opportunity to contribute to the reduction of carbon.

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