Embodied Carbon 101: Envelope

Design your next façade system using embodied carbon strategies.


Envelopes are among the systems that have the largest embodied carbon impact on a building. Traditionally envelope systems and materials are chosen for aesthetics, cost, and operational energy, but embodied carbon is equally important. Learn how to apply embodied carbon strategies when designing your next façade system, including strategies for renovating existing buildings, insulation, and selecting cladding materials.

Learning objectives

  • Identify appropriate approaches to improving thermal performance of existing envelopes and approaches that have historically created new problems.
  • Design and specify enclosure systems that utilize low embodied carbon materials for structure, insulation and finishes strategically to improve building performance.
  • Weigh the embodied carbon impacts of maintaining and repairing an existing building enclosure versus rebuilding an enclosure.
  • Assess traditional and alternative façade and building envelope materials for their embodied carbon impact.

This course is part of a series

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Average: 4.1 (186 votes)
 $45  non-member
 $30  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • Daniel Nall

    Daniel H. Nall


    Vice President and Regional Director of High Performance Solutions, Syska Henessy Group

    Mr. Nall is Vice President and Regional Director of High Performance Solutions at Syska Hennessy...
  • Christopher Nielson Headshot

    Christopher Nielson


    Architect | Bruner/Cott Architects

    Christopher is an architect with Bruner/Cott Architects. He is interested in design that builds...
  • Christopher O’Hara Headshot

    Christopher O'Hara


    Founding Principal | Studio NYL

    Chris O'Hara PE, SECB is a Founding Principal of Studio NYL, a Colorado-based structural...
  • Catherine Paplin Headshot

    Catherine Paplin

    Senior Building Enclosure Consultant | Steven Winter Associates

    Catherine is a born and devoted New Yorker, and an R.A. on the SWA Enclosure Team with 28 years’...
  • Melanie Silver Headshot

    Melanie Silver


    Building Scientist | Payette

    Melanie is part of Payette's Building Science Group. She works with design teams to meet rigorous...