Embodied Carbon 101: Certifications + commitments—Overview

Examine various aspects of certification programs including their incorporation of embodied carbon considerations.


Our built environment is not as sustainable, healthy, safe, equitable or inclusive as it needs to be. As design professionals we have the ability to address the global climate crisis and influence health and well-being. Health is a growing concern for homebuyers, designers, and builders alike. Building professionals are not health professionals, but we have more influence on people’s health than we may realize. We also have tools to help influence building systems and components which impact not only health, but embodied carbon and operation carbon outputs. The course includes comparisons of Indoor airPLUS, Enterprise Green Communities, LEED for Homes, Passive House, Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Standard, Fitwel, and the Active Design Guidelines. The course explores the benefits and drawbacks to using certification programs, looks at the influence they’ve had on code, and discusses their impact on our built environment—including the ways that embodied carbon considerations do or don’t factor into each program.

Learning objectives

  • Discover the degree to which human health and the environment are influenced by different components the built environment based on current research.
  • Summarize how the new energy code addresses occupant health and explain how to meet these new requirements.
  • Select the relevant tool(s) from those available to implement design of healthier buildings with lower embodied and operational carbon.
  • Plan the inclusion of one new health or environmental intervention in your next design or construction project.

This course is part of a series

User rating:
Average: 4.3 (61 votes)
 $40  non-member
 $25  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • Maureen Mahle Headshot

    Maureen Mahle

    Managing Director, Sustainable Housing Services | Steven Winter Associates

    Maureen Mahle is an engineer and specialist in high performance homes. As Managing Director of SWA’...