Total Prize Money
Unlike operational carbon emissions, which can be reduced over time with building energy efficiency renovations and renewable energy, embodied carbon emissions from building materials have irreversibly entered the atmosphere as soon as a building is built. That means the upfront building material choices are critically impactful. And as new construction operations become more efﬁcient, embodied carbon impacts become even more signiﬁcant. On current trajectories, Architecture 2030 estimates embodied carbon will be responsible for almost half of total new construction emissions between 2020 and 2050.
MassCEC has engaged Built Environment Plus (BE+) to conduct an Embodied Carbon Challenge for actual new construction and major renovation projects in process or built in Massachusetts.
At least 5 prizes will be reserved for Lead Applicants who have not performed Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA) previously.
The Embodied Carbon Reduction Challenge Has Two Goals
Assist design teams in gaining expertise to advise clients about options for reducing embodied carbon including using tools to estimate embodied carbon impacts
Training and Resources
BE+ will host a series of events and trainings including an overview of embodied carbon tools for different design phases, tips and tricks for Tally LCA and One Click LCA, case studies and more.
BE+ has licenses to Tally LCA and One Click LCA available for the duration of the Challenge for participants. For access click Express Interest
Demonstrate low-cost, high impact changes that significantly reduce embodied carbon
Deadline March 31, 2024
Actual/real projects in MA in Construction Documents or recently built
New construction or substantial renovation of any type
20,000+ sq. ft.
Prizes categories include:
• $50,000 Grand Prize Substantial Rehabilitation
• $50,000 Grand Prize New Construction
• 9 Runner-up prizes of $30,000
• $10,000 People’s Choice Award
At least 5 prizes will be reserved for Lead Applicants who have not performed Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment (WBLCA) previously.
March 28, 2023: Competition Announced, Guidelines Released, Notice of Interest Form Open
Starting April 2023: Tally and One Click LCA Licenses Available
May 2023 – Oct. 2023: Embodied Carbon Events and Trainings hosted by BE+
March 31, 2024: Challenge Submissions Due
April 2024: People’s Choice Voting
May 2024: Awards Announcement and Celebration Event
Summer 2024: Lessons Learned Case Study Presentations
This timeline is subject to change at BE+’s discretion.
In order for projects to be eligible for prizes projects must meet the following requirements:
- Be located In Massachusetts.
- Have over 20,000 square feet of floor area.
- Be an actual / real project that will be constructed.
- Projects in Design: Have at least started construction documentation phase of design by March 31, 2024.
- Projects Completed: Have reached substantial construction completion after June 1, 2023.
- Can be new construction or major renovation.
- Must be a whole building.
- There are no limits on project type or construction type.
- A project can only be submitted once.
- Any given project cannot receive more than one award with the exception of the People’s Choice category.
Lead Applicant Requirements
Each project is required to be submitted by a Lead Applicant. The Lead Applicant can be:
- Any company/person on the Design and/or Construction Team including the Owner.
- Must have approval from the project Owner and be in coordination with other team members.
- It will be up to the discretion of the Lead Applicant how the prize is allocated to other team members.
- A Lead applicant can submit more than one entry and be on more than one team.
- A Lead Applicant will only be awarded a prize as the Lead Applicant once. The Lead Applicant can be on an additional winning project as a non-lead applicant team member.
Challenge Participation Requirements
- Lead Applicants must complete the Notice of Interest form on the Built Environment Plus website.
- Each Lead Applicant must send at least one employee to at least 3 of the designated related trainings offered by BE+ over the course of the Challenge. See more information on training opportunities starting May 2023 on the BE+ website.
Judges will score the projects on a scale of 0-100 using the following criteria.
Replicability and Cost Effectiveness
- Proposed measures can apply broadly and cost effectively to projects across the state
- Proposed measures use commercially and widely available building materials and equipment
- Building design changes and material changes can be implemented by existing workforce or with modest investments in workforce training
- General cost estimates for changes are reasonable based on evaluation of MassCEC and review committee
Reduction in Embodied Carbon
- Percent Reduction in Embodied Carbon as demonstrated by difference in WBLCA
- Baseline WBLCA assumptions are reasonable as to what project what have done in the absence of focusing on reduction in embodied carbon
- How Carbon per square foot compares to other buildings in similar building type
- The changes to reduce embodied carbon are new applications of design or material changes
- This approach breaks new ground
BE+ in collaboration with Brightworks will review all submissions prior to sending to the Judging Panel.
A panel of embodied carbon experts will serve as the judges, review the projects and determine the 2 grand prize winners and other projects to recognize.
BE+ will update this page with the judging panelists.
BE+ will announce the winners at an in-person celebration planned for May 2024. Following the celebration BE+ will issue the prize money to the Lead Applicants on the winning projects.
All prize winners will receive graphic from MassCEC showing recognition level/prize awarded in addition to cash prize. Graphic may be included on company website and marketing materials.
How to Participate
1. Participation and Awards Submission is FREE.
2. Complete this Notice of Interest Form. Participants who complete this form will receive communication regarding the Challenge, available resources, educational opportunities and more.
3. Participants will submit the following for consideration:
- Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment Reports for the baseline and proposed / actual building. This is expected to be completed in Tally or One Click LCA unless otherwise approved by Built Environment Plus. See WBLCA requirements below.
- Carbon Leadership Forum WBLCA Reporting Template for baseline and proposed.
- A Digital Poster that describes the project and Embodied Carbon reduction strategies. The poster must include a stacked bar chart of the proposed vs. baseline in units GWP/m2 broken down by foundations, structure, enclosure, interiors, site/landscaping, MEP, and FF&E as applicable.
- Written text giving a project and team overview. Descriptions of how the reduction strategies are replicable and cost effective, innovative both in terms of design process and implementation, and an explanation of the embodied carbon reduction strategies. The Lead Applicant must also attest to having attended at least 3 of the Challenge events.
Requirements for Whole Building Life Cycle Analysis (WBLCA)
Conduct a cradle-to-grave life-cycle assessment of the project’s structure, foundations and enclosure consistent with LEEDv4 Materials and Resources Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction Credit requirements and demonstrate a reduction for Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to an equivalent baseline building.
The scope of the assessment should include, at a minimum, the following:
- Life cycle stages: A1-A3, A4, A5, B4, C1-C4
- Physical Scope: Substructure, Superstructure, Exterior Enclosure
- Environmental Indicators: Global Warming Potential (GWP)
The baseline and proposed buildings must be of comparable size, function, orientation, and operating energy. The service life of the baseline and proposed buildings must be the same and at least 60 years to consider impacts from replacement and end-of-life. Baseline assumptions must be based on industry standard design and material selection for the project location and building type. The team must use the same life-cycle assessment software tools and data sets to evaluate both the baseline building and the proposed building, and report the Global Warming Potential (GWP) impact category at a minimum. Data sets must be compliant with ISO 14044.
Each applicant’s WBLCA will be reviewed by a third party to ensure appropriate and consistent expectations in terms of embodied carbon calculations and assumptions for judges of the competition.
BE+ will not accept responses past the deadline.
Events & Trainings
BE+ will update this site with more details about the events and trainings and post registration links. Click on links to learn more and register.
Free Events available for Challenge Participants:
Embodied Carbon Tools Overview – June 14, 2023 @9:00am – 10:30am FREE
Tips and Tricks: Tally LCA – June 27, 2023 @12:00pm – 1:30pm FREE
Tips and Tricks: One Click USA – June 29, 2023 @9:00am – 10:30am FREE
Embodied Carbon Case Studies – July 23, 2023 @9:00am- 10:30am FREE
Case Studies of Winning Submissions – July 2024
BE+ will post recordings of these free sessions shortly after they are held.
Additional Trainings provided by BE+. These trainings are eligible for Commonwealth Corporation Workforce Training Fund Express Program Funding. BE+ will be adding to this over the course of the Challenge. Note: Companies must submit grant applications at least 21 days prior to the course start date.
Buildings & Carbon: May 30, 2023 @1:00pm – 5:00pm $350
Check here for additional BE+ trainings and to express interest in courses.
BE+ will be providing licenses for participants (one shareable license per Lead Applicant) for Tally LCA ($695 value) or One Click LCA ($1250 value)
Complete the Notice of Interest Form to gain access to the software.
BE+ will continue to update this page. Please be sure to check back for more resources. BE+ will post recordings of BE+ free informative events here shortly after the presentations. Here are some great resources to get started.
One Click LCA Academy
One Click LCA has live virtual, on-demand trainings available.
Tally LCA has webinars, tutorials, case studies, references and additional resources available.
AIA-CLF Embodied Carbon Toolkit for Architect
The AIA-CLF Embodied Carbon Toolkit for Architects serves to provide architects an overview and the necessary steps to be taken to reduce embodied carbon in their projects. This resource is divided into three parts, introducing the necessary steps and resources to take in reducing embodied carbon. This resource intends to empower building designers.
City of Vancouver Embodied Carbon Guidelines
For more detailed guidance on how to develop a baseline building, refer to this guide.
Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) Boston
A BSA Knowledge Community and the Boston Hub of the Carbon Leadership Forum
CLF Boston is a group that shares knowledge and identifies actions—immediate and long-term—for the AEC industry to address issues of embodied carbon in the built environment in Boston and beyond. The group aims to reduce carbon emissions through design and through changes in procedural behaviors that impact carbon emissions.
Questions should be directed to email@example.com BE+ will update this Q&A over the course of the Challenge.
MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits and to secure long-term economic growth for the people of Massachusetts. MassCEC works to increase the adoption of clean energy while driving down costs and delivering financial, environmental, and economic development benefits to energy users and utility customers across the state.
MassCEC’s mission is to accelerate the clean energy and climate solution innovation that is critical to meeting the Commonwealth’s climate goals, advancing Massachusetts’ position as an international climate leader while growing the state’s clean energy economy. MassCEC is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where everyone is welcomed, supported, respected, and valued. We are committed to incorporating principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice in all aspects of our work in order to promote the equitable distribution of the health and economic benefits of clean energy and support a diverse and inclusive clean energy industry. MassCEC strives to lead and innovate in equitable clean energy and climate solutions.
This Solicitation does not commit BE+ or MassCEC to award any funds, pay any costs incurred in preparing an application, or procure or contract for services or supplies. BE+ reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications received, waive minor irregularities in submittal requirements, modify the anticipated timeline, request modification of the application, negotiate with all qualified Applicants, cancel or modify the Solicitation in part or in its entirety, or change the application guidelines, when it is in its best interests.
This Solicitation has been distributed electronically using BE+’s website. It is the responsibility of Applicants to check the website for any addenda or modifications to a Solicitation to which they intend to respond. BE+ accepts no liability and will provide no accommodation to Applicants who submit an application based on an out-of-date Solicitation document.