When we talk about climate change on this podcast, and what causes it, we are usually talking about gases that come from vehicles or the electricity sector. 

But what about the built environment? This week, we’re talking about the emissions embedded in our buildings.

There’s the natural gas that gets burned in them, and there’s all the electricity that it takes to power them. And then there’s another category: all the upfront energy that went into making the buildings in the first place. That’s called “embodied carbon,” “embedded carbon” or sometimes “upfront carbon.” 

In the next few crucial years when we can bend the arc of climate change, most of the emissions that come from buildings are going to emanate from the embodied carbon. Clearly, how we choose to construct buildings really matters. 

Our Podcast Senior Editor Ingrid Lobet has a special interest in buildings and wrote recently about embodied carbon for Greentech Media (read that article here).

Just before everything shut down due to the pandemic several months ago, Ingrid was at a conference on this subject organized in part by Ed Mazria. Mazria has been at the forefront of a growing faction of builders, engineers and designers intent on remaking buildings into a climate solution. She spoke with him about the biggest opportunities in decarbonizing buildings.

The Interchange is supported by Schneider Electric, the leader of digital transformation in energy management and automation. Schneider Electric has designed and deployed more than 300 microgrids in North America, helping customers gain energy independence and control while increasing resilience and reaching their clean energy goals.

We’re also sponsored by NEXTracker. NEXTracker has more than 30 gigawatts of resilient and intelligent solar tracking systems across six continents. Optimize your solar power plant.