Intro to the EC3 Tool
A Must-Use Tool for Every Project

Understanding the world of carbon can be a confusing feat. Carbon dioxide numbers are rising beyond levels ever seen in human history - think 50% higher than preindustrial levels according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The NOAA gives a great CO2 impact 101 by stating “CO2 pollution is generated by burning fossil fuels for transportation and electrical generation, by cement manufacturing, deforestation, agriculture and many other practices. Along with other greenhouse gases, CO2 traps heat radiating from the planet’s surface that would otherwise escape into space, causing the planet’s atmosphere to warm steadily, which unleashes a cascade of weather impacts, including episodes of extreme heat, drought and wildfire activity, as well as heavier precipitation, flooding and tropical storm activity.” 
So what does that mean for us in our day-to-day lives and how can we connect the dots? Well, it is difficult to measure, but the impact that specifiers have on the reversal of climate change is massive. In fact, the City of Boston in our own backyard has pledged to be a Carbon Neutral City by year 2050 by adjusting its transportation, building impact, citywide greenspaces, and more. In addition, other New England states are following suit in reducing their overall carbon emissions, including Maine's reduction of greenhouse gases by 25% since 1990.  

So where do we start? The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator, also known as the EC3 Tool, is the rising star of climate resources to measure the impact of material procurement for the construction industry. In other words, it helps measure the amount of carbon used, aka embodied carbon to make the materials we specify in our projects.

In the past, if you wanted to understand the embodied environmental impact of a building, you could run a whole process internally for every material by reaching out to every materials manufacturer, reading through EPDs with a fine-toothed comb, and generate a manual assessment of carbon impact of a project - quite the cumbersome endeavor. So much so, that the carbon measurement of a project could often get pushed to the wayside to prioritize a deadline.

EC3 takes this cumbersome procurement and selection process and allows for users to pull from its database of third party verified EPDs in minutes, for free.

Whether you have end users who push for environmentally clean, green, and low-carbon products or not, it is up to specifiers to take a stance and choose products that foster a better building future.

Sometimes it is tough to humanize what carbon impact looks like.  As individuals, we can do our best to adjust our lifestyle by switching to reusable utensils, cups, and tote bags, carpooling to work, or even reducing energy in our homes, but it takes a collective to really create a ripple effect with these changes.  

Specifiers, on the other hand, have the power to create impact beyond belief. Think carbon equivalents of taking several passenger cars off the road for a year just by specifying one aesthetically and price-equivalent product vs. the other in a space. Specifiers are the superheroes of building better for our future.

To read between the lines here, it IS possible to find products that perform, have safe ingredients, cost and look similar BUT drastically reduce impact on the climate. We know which ones we’d choose.

A Step By Step Guide to the EC3 Can be found here. Additionally, video tutorials and further learning of the EC3 Tool can be found via these videos:

To set up a free account and dive into the tool, visit:

Stay tuned for the next President's Message!

Be sure to check in with the IIDA New England calendar for upcoming events (both virtual and in-person) offered in our community. Here's a sneak peek at some upcoming events:

Also, be sure to keep an eye on our IIDA New England job postings, which are updated regularly!


Check out the list of IIDA New England Emerging Leaders Class of 2021! (Class of 2022 list coming soon)

Do you have an idea that you would like to share with the design community or see highlighted here in The Wire? Share your ideas here

Stay tuned for the next Sponsor Highlight!



Follow IIDA New England on social media and visit our website to keep up with the latest and greatest!