Find the Hotspots

Designers can’t lower carbon emissions if they don’t understand where the biggest emissions are. The best way to find out is to analyze past or ongoing projects on a regular basis.

Analyze Completed or Ongoing Projects:

  • Ask for EPDs for every major product or material on the project (Resource: mindful MATERIALS, Sustainable Minds, or EC3).
  • Note the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of every product or material.*
  • Find out the mass, area, or volume of every product on your project.
  • Use an LCA tool or Carbon calculator (Resource: the CLF TI LCA Calculator) to input the GWP and quantity for all products in your project and generate the carbon footprint. If you are assessing interiors alongside other aspects of the project, you can use EC3, Tally, or OneClick LCA.

*Lighting and other MEP products might be challenging to include, and EPDs might not be available now for all products and materials. This is a developing area, so expect progress as industry awareness builds.

Find the Top 3 Carbon Hotspots:

Use the project analysis (above) to identify the top three hotspots, i.e., the three product categories used in the largest volume with biggest carbon footprints.

Commit to Consistent Assessment:

Calculate the embodied carbon footprint of all projects, even small-scale renovations or tenant improvement projects. This can reinforce your team’s intention to lower carbon emissions and inspire external stakeholders to support you. (Resource: MSR Design’s Sustainability Metrics Drawing Set Template and Tracker)

Sign the AIA A&D Materials Pledge:

The AIA A&D Materials Pledge provides the most comprehensive framework for selecting products and materials to reduce carbon footprints, preserve the health and wellbeing of people, and promote equity.

Make the AIA 2030 Commitment:

If your firm’s services include architecture, sign up for the AIA 2030 Commitment and submit documentation every year. The AIA provides extensive guidance and community support to firms that sign up, helping them meet their goals. Note that the Commitment focuses on getting to zero operational carbon by 2030 and embodied carbon thereafter.

(See Track, Assess, Evaluate, and Document for more.)

If you have feedback on the Climate Toolkit for Interior Design, write to: [email protected]

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