The EC3 Tool: How our USA Commercial Development team is reducing embodied carbon
Committed to sustainability and healthy buildings, our USA Commercial Development (CDUS) team has been using the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3 Tool) on all our projects in design and construction since 2020.
The EC3 Tool, a product co-created by Skanska with industry partners, is a free, open-source tool to estimate and reduce the embodied carbon in building materials.
It allows users to see what building material components are the most carbon intensive and where there are opportunities to reduce embodied carbon.
Our CDUS team is working to reduce embodied carbon on our projects by incorporating carbon intensity as a factor in our procurement process for key construction materials like concrete, rebar and structural steel.
Beverly Hills, California
9000 Wilshire is a four-story office building designed to enhance the productivity and well-being of a creative workforce in the heart of Beverly Hills. The property features open flexible floorplates, outdoor workspaces, operable windows and epic views from the rooftop deck.
Sustainably designed and constructed, 9000 Wilshire embodies the future of the smart workspace. WiredScore® Platinum certified and designed to meet LEED® Platinum and Fitwel® certifications, the building integrates innovation and performance based on the foundation of intelligent efficiency with a commitment to local and global ecologies.
Here are a few ways that our Los Angeles team used the EC3 Tool during the development of 9000 Wilshire.
Our team discovered that they could make the most impact to reducing their carbon footprint during the design and construction of the project through careful material selection.
Using the EC3 Tool in the development of 9000 Wilshire, our team selected concrete mix designs that supported carbon reduction and met design requirements. The specifications for the project required products with environmental product declarations (EPDs), which informed project teams regarding the carbon intensity and life cycle story of products used and allowed the project’s total embodied carbon to be tracked.
“Using the EC3 Tool allowed us to develop and meet our sustainability goals by understanding the embodied carbon of construction materials, and options and opportunities available to even further reduce the embodied carbon of the major materials we used. We then had the knowledge to support early incorporation to ensure a more sustainable design,” explained Jenny Walker, project executive for USA Building (USB).
“Our company, but also our region has carbon reduction goals. It’s important that we always focus on the product being built, but also how it will perform into the future when we no longer own it. Carbon reduction has to be ongoing,” said Megan Moloughney, vice president – development. “In addition to the efforts to reduce embodied carbon, the design team has focused on energy efficiency, electrification and renewables in the building design, reducing operational energy use by over 30 percent versus the LEED baseline."
Some of the biggest sustainable features of 9000 Wilshire include photovoltaic panels on the roof, touchless elevator access, touchless security and parking, EV Charging stations, a green wall, operable windows for fresh air and outdoor workspaces.
“When this project is complete, it will be the first LEED® Platinum, new construction product in Beverly Hills. We anticipate that others will follow suit and put an emphasis on sustainability and carbon reduction as we have done,” explained Megan.
9000 Wilshire is expected to reach completion in late 2022.
1550 on the Green
1550 on the Green is adjacent to one of Houston’s most iconic downtown parks, Discovery Green. Part of the three-block master plan, all owned by Skanska, this building is designed by world renowned architect, Bjarke Ingels Group.
When complete, the site will be a 370,000 square-foot office tower with market-changing amenities including multiple terraces that pull the park up into the building. With a unique side-core design, expansive floor plate and LEED Platinum mechanical system, 1550 on the Green will set a new standard for Houston architecture and office life.
Here are a few ways that our Houston team used the EC3 Tool during the development of 1550 on the Green.
Using the EC3 Tool, our Houston team tracked products that could reduce our overall embodied carbon emissions, like concrete, rebar, aluminum, roofing material, carpeting and ceiling tiles. However, they expect the largest percentage of carbon reduction will come from concrete and rebar.
“Cement is the most carbon intensive component of concrete. For the recently completed foundation at 1550 on the Green, we worked with our concrete contractor and ready-mix supplier to create a concrete mix which replaced 55 percent of the cement in the mix,” explained Elaine Lai, sustainability engineer.
During the design process of the building and interiors, our entire team—including architects, the owner and contractor—worked together using the EC3 tool to evaluate options and alternatives available to further lower the carbon intensity of products needed on the project. By ensuring products used and installed in the building have EPDs, project teams can confirm the actual carbon reduction that was achieved through the use of that product. As soon as our project team uploads this information into the EC3 tool, the model will quantify and update the project-wide carbon reductions achieved in real time.
“With 1550 on the Green, and other Skanska-led projects in Texas, we’re beginning to move the needle by growing supplier interest in developing EPDs and looking at how the carbon footprint of their product might size up against that of their competitors,” said Elaine. “We’re excited to see the role that projects such as 1550 on the Green have in fostering greater interest in our supply/value chain in providing more sustainable and lower-carbon options. By educating subcontractors, customers and the supply chain to the importance of embodied carbon, we’re bringing more transparency to embodied carbon in construction.”
Once complete, 1550 on the Green will be Skanska’s most sustainable office project in Texas. There are a handful of building materials that our team will employ to reach their target to reduce the carbon emissions tied to the building’s construction by 60 percent.
1550 on the Green will be a LEED Platinum, WELL Platinum, Fitwel and Energy Star certified. It will provide 30 percent more fresh air than typical Class A office buildings, and utilize bipolar ionization and air filtration to reduce airborne pathogens. Additionally, it will feature demand control ventilation and district cooling.
“Tenants will have the option of directly controlling temperature on their floors. What’s different is the ability to bring the maximum amount of outside air. With the 30 percent additional fresh air supply, tenants will have the option on-demand to flush their space for deep cleans,” explained Elaine.
1550 on the Green is expected to reach completion in late 2023.
Click here to read more about our CDUS team and their commitment to sustainability, health and wellness.