Building Transparency Mobilizing Climate Action on a Global Scale

Nonprofit Shares Global Roadmap for Addressing Building Industry’s Role in Climate Change

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#buildingsBuilding Transparency, a nonprofit organization that provides open access data and tools to foster a better building future, today unveils its roadmap to scale embodied carbon awareness and low-carbon procurement efforts globally. This includes efforts to harmonize carbon impact reporting by creating and driving adoption of an open digital Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) standard format and establish EPD programming in those regions where this effort has not yet begun.

Since the nonprofit’s establishment in January 2020, it continues to make strides in standardizing and scaling how to report on the carbon footprint of a product to enable industry professionals to directly measure, compare and reduce the embodied carbon in buildings. As it looks toward 2022, its achievements over the last two years will enable Building Transparency to fill product and material data gaps across global markets, harmonizing efforts to reduce the carbon impact of our built spaces.

“It has never been more critical to align global efforts to understand, measure and reduce the emissions associated with the building industry,” said Stacy Smedley, Executive Director of Building Transparency. “For too long, efforts have been disparate and expensive, and the data that was available via EPDs was difficult to access. By scaling our efforts to standardize carbon data reporting and making it free and open access, we are mobilizing the global industry to accurately understand its climate impact in a standardized way.”

Supporting Better Data

Over the last two years, Building Transparency prioritized driving adoption of its tools in North America, including the management and scaling of its Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). The nonprofit focused on user education, engagement and training, providing support for building owners and policymakers in setting standards and enabling compliance across the sector. Recognizing the challenges surrounding EPDs in North America alone, the organization created its digital standard language for easier EPD generation, known as openEPD. openEPD is a free, open access resource designed by Building Transparency and its software development partner C Change Labs.

Today the tool boasts over 19,000 registered users and contains more than 80,000 product-specific EPDs across materials categories, further growing the EC3 database to include global EPDs and cover more markets. As it continues to make progress and gain traction in North America, the nonprofit is looking to further standardize and align efforts on a global scale.

Going Global

Building Transparency’s tools and resources are already available globally. It is focused on driving action via a two-pronged approach based on the current state of EPD awareness and adoption in global regions.

For the APAC region, the focus is on establishing EPD programming and program operators to begin standardizing how the carbon impact of building materials and products is reported. Notably, Building Transparency partners have recently provided funding to complete this APAC market effort, and the work is underway.

“As the construction sector is one of the key contributors to Asia’s economic performance, ensuring that its key industry players have the tools and programming in place to measure, share and evaluate the embodied carbon impact of products is critical,” explained Smedley. “We are looking at similar efforts in India and Africa as well, realizing the significant need for EPD programming in these regions where they have yet to standardize material data reporting. As we establish these programs, we are ensuring the new markets have to and can adopt the openEPD standard format, further aligning global efforts to improve transparency and ensure clear measurement across the global sector.”

Importantly, Obayashi Corporation, a leading Japanese construction company, recently became the latest pilot partner for EC3, signaling the company’s commitment to address embodied carbon’s role in climate change through construction materials transparency. This is the tool’s first partner with headquarters in Asia.

In other regions, like Europe, where EPD programming already exists, Building Transparency’s focus is on harmonizing the data to one digital standard. Building Transparency is currently engaged in a formal partnership with European based Eco Platform on this work. By aligning efforts with one open digital standard, the sector can better establish carbon reduction goals and improve transparency. In turn, policymakers have access to accurate and aligned data, which aids in creating and establishing policies that drive low-carbon material procurement.

“With openEPD, we are catalyzing efforts across the building industry to cooperate and provide carbon impact data that informs carbon-conscious decision-making,” explains Phil Northcott, CEO of C Change Labs. “Driving alignment and harmonization of this standard across the globe is key to drive large-scale climate action in the building sector.”

Expanding the Nonprofit’s Team

In just 12 months, Building Transparency hired five additional team members to support and engage with the industry at large, including manufacturers, owners, suppliers, architects, policymakers and more. As it looks toward 2022 and its global scaling efforts, the nonprofit will hire two additional team members to further drive its efforts. This includes hiring a European Program Manager to partner with key policymakers and pilot partners in the region to drive further alignment and engagement. In addition, Building Transparency looks to hire a dedicated technology manager to support continued work and advancement of free, open-access tools.

About Building Transparency

Building Transparency is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides open access data and tools that support broad and swift action across the building industry in addressing embodied carbon’s role in climate change. Formed in 2020, Building Transparency hosts, manages and maintains the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool, which provides thousands of digitized EPDs in a free, open-source database, and Tally, the nonprofit’s Life Cycle Assessment Tool. Building Transparency strives to provide the resources and education necessary to promote adoption of the EC3 tool, including through the official materialsCAN program, and works with global policymakers to shape a better building future.


Kelly Ronna