2. Reduce Emissions

To determine a project target, a set of carbon reduction measures can be applied to the project base case. EPIC highlights salient carbon reduction measures that can be consistently modeled with available data. The set of carbon reduction measures included in EPIC do not represent an exhaustive list of possible emission reduction strategies.

Carbon reduction measures in EPIC are generally divided into three categories:

  • Sufficiency and Reuse. These measures deal with the reduction of the building area and the savings from reuse of existing building elements.

  • Embodied carbon. These measures pertain to the materials in a building, structural and nonstructural, their amounts, their carbon intensities, and their replacement periods.

  • Operational carbon. These measures pertain to energy use in the building and its sources.

  • Site and Landscape. These measures pertain to the landscape surrounding the building and assess its potential to sequester carbon.

Cumulative Emissions Over Time

This figure describes the cumulative carbon emissions of a building over time. As a chart of cumulative emissions, the height of the bar in each year is the total emissions associated with the building up to and including that year rather than only the emissions associated with that year.

The cumulative emissions over time chart has a number of elements:

  • Embodied carbon emissions. Cumulative emissions associated with building materials, their replacements, and with landscape maintenance.

  • Operational carbon emissions. Cumulative emissions associated with energy use from electricity and onsite fossil fuel use.

  • Emissions reductions from base case. Cumulative reduction in emissions of the current scenario as compared to the base case.

  • Sequestered and avoided emissions. Sequestered emissions from building structure and landscape planting. Avoided emissions from onsite energy generation in excess of use.

  • Net emissions after reductions. Operational and embodied emissions less sequestered and avoided emissions.

  • Climate Positive Threshold. When the net emissions of a project crosses the zero line, the crossing point is marked as the Climate Positive threshold.

Hovering over a bar gives the summary of emissions in that year. This is useful for determining how the project is performing against time-based targets (e.g. a 2030 net zero target). Note that these numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred and may not sum to net emissions in all cases.

Embodied Carbon Budget

This chart breaks down the contributions to embodied carbon emissions by category. This figure represents the total cumulative emissions associated with the project scenario after 30 years.

When comparing EPIC results to wbLCA results at later project phases, this breakdown can be helpful in confirming if designs are within the carbon budget for a particular scope or for the project as a whole.

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