In addition to providing structural design, civil and façade engineering services for Landmark Place in London, Thornton Tomasetti assessed framing options to determine which had the lowest level of embodied carbon. Results showed that using a PT slab arrangement and existing piles at the site would lead to significant savings in embodied carbon.
For nearly a decade, Thornton Tomasetti’s Embodied Carbon Laboratory has been contributing to industry research on the embodied carbon in structures. The lab has been developing and fine tuning pathways and tools that contribute to the reduction of embodied carbon in the built environment. It has analyzed more than 600 of Thornton Tomasetti’s structural engineering projects using the most current carbon coefficients in a carbon calculator extraction tool, which we developed in-house. We are currently running calculations for 50 additional projects to add to the ever-expanding database.
Looking to the year ahead, we plan to utilize our comprehensive database of the embodied carbon in projects to identify strategies for low-carbon engineering that will inform the field and our practices. We have contributed to research in embodied carbon through our collaboration with the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), which comprises AEC professionals, academics and manufacturers focused on advancing knowledge and methods in low-carbon construction. This included the Embodied Carbon Benchmark Study, an interactive database of embodied carbon, and the Life Cycle Assessment Practice Guide, which focuses on reducing carbon in the building construction sector. Amy Hattan, Thornton Tomasetti’s vice president of Corporate Sustainability, has also accepted a second term (through 2020) on the CLF board. As a platinum sponsor of CLF, Thornton Tomasetti hosted workshops aligned with the Carbon Smart Building Day in San Francisco and Build Positive: A Carbon Smart Building Summit in New York. These events provide architects, structural engineers, policy makers and materials manufacturers with innovative strategies for achieving zero net carbon in the built environment.
In September 2018, Thornton Tomasetti’s San Francisco office hosted an event associated with Carbon Smart Building Day, which brought together industry experts to discuss the steps necessary to achieve net zero carbon in the built environment. Pictured, right, is Associate Principal Lynn Simon of the Sustainability practice.
Last year, we signed on to the Carbon Smart Building Declaration, acknowledging that eliminating carbon emissions in the built environment and embracing low-carbon building materials and processes is crucial to solving the climate crisis. For our leadership on embodied carbon, Thornton Tomasetti received a Low Carbon Leader, Highly Commended award in New Civil Engineer magazine’s 100 Companies of the Year for 2018.
We take pride in the considerable strides our firm has made to advance embodied carbon benchmarking and best practices for low-carbon design, and look forward to building on industry knowledge as we continue to develop tools and enhance our capabilities.
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