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Learn about the  implications of two studies (including EMBARC) on embodied carbon in buildings.

The evidence is clear: the manufacture and transport of building materials in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are responsible for millions of tonnes of emissions every year. These emissions are mostly overlooked and are not currently being measured or minimized, as pointed out by new studies on both low-rise and high-rise buildings in the region. Both the EMBARC part 9 (small buildings) study and the part 3 (big buildings) study were funded by the The Atmospheric Fund and the part 9 study was done in partnership with the City of Toronto.

See all of the Materials Matter videos here.

Watch "Materials Matter"

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Material evidence! Read the EMBARC report on material GHG emissions. 

The EMBARC ("Emissions from Materials Benchmark Assessment of Residential Construction") is a first-of-its-kind study that documents the greenhouse gas emissions from building materials used to construct homes in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). The EMBARC study examined data from over 500 single detached, semi-detached and town houses  (part 9 - smaller buildings) built between 2017 and 2020 in the GTHA to provide decision makers – including policymakers, developers, home designers and builders, and homeowners - with insights about choices they can make to reduce GHG emissions in the homes they build, design and renovate.


The results of the study are substantial, revealing roughly 840,000 tonnes of carbon per year, equivalent to the emissions from more than 183,000 automobiles.

The EMBARC study was conducted by Passive Buildings Canada and Builders for Climate Action with funding from The Atmospheric Fund.

Also see a new related study on embodied carbon in Part 3 (larger) buildings here. 

Watch our Lunch & Learn

Interested to hear more from the authors of the EMBARC study?

Watch the following video to see Chris Magwood explain the study, and answer questions in an informative Q&A.

How to Get 1 Million Tonnes of Home Building Materials Emissions to Zero

This 10-minute summary video recaps the findings of the report, from high-level impacts across the region down to material replacement suggestions at the level of individual homes, showing how regulation of material emissions could bring about immediate reductions of 250,000 tonnes per year and could drive the sector to become carbon neutral in the next decade and carbon positive before 2050.

For the full 35-minute video, click here.

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