Total carbon footprint of a North American home is more than you think

Read the full story at Treehugger.

Measuring the energy efficiency of a house is pretty easy: You have your heat loss calculation before it’s built and you have the gas and electric bills after. Figuring out the operating carbon emissions is straightforward as well. But what about the embodied carbon—the upfront carbon emitted when building a house?

Embodied carbon is not so straightforward and is rarely even thought about, even though it should be. There were 1.7 million single-family housing starts in the U.S. in 2021 and 63,456 in Canada, where there is a higher proportion of multifamily units. That’s going to add up to a lot of carbon going into the air right now. Now, a new Canadian study, “Emissions of Materials Benchmark Assessment for Residential Construction” (EMBARC), quantifies how much carbon is at stake and what we can do about it.

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