The high greenhouse gas price tag on residential building materials

Construction material choices can significantly affect the amount of embodied carbon—the full life cycle “cost” of carbon involved in building construction. How best to source and use the materials, and measure their effects, is still not well understood in the marketplace. Customers and contractors typically base their home insulation materials decisions on cost effectiveness, durability, regional availability of materials, and relevant building science, not on the materials’ attendant GWP impacts.

This 2020 research and development project quantifies GWP impacts of using low-GWP alternatives to common building materials and applied the results of the analysis to actual projects slated for construction. This study analyzes projects in residential new construction, and there is high relevance to existing homes and commercial construction.

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