Embodied Carbon in Roofing

Support a more holistic decision-making framework through information embedded in LCAs, EPDs, and Whole Building Lifecycle Analysis


Does simply reducing product embodies carbon provide us a path to limit global warming? Real solutions to climate change exist, but they require a more complex, holistic systems approach to decision-making. While simple metrics and data points may seem to be useful quick fixes for product selection, they are misleading, and not telling the full story. This discussion will put CO2 emissions, frequently referred to simply as “carbon”, into context across various building use stages and the differing impact across building systems. We will illuminate how energy savings, embodied carbon, and other environmental and health impacts of product selection are part of a “composite system” for ultimate building performance. The goal is for learners to find information embedded in LCAs, EPDs, and Whole Building Lifecycle Analysis that support a more holistic decision-making framework.

Pre-requisite knowledge: Basic knowledge of low slope roofing. 

Learning objectives

  • Understand and explain the distinction between energy savings, energy use, carbon dioxide emissions (“carbon”) and embodied carbon in various stages of LCA.
  • Describe theoretical and real market examples of how use phase of an LCA, EPD or Whole Building LCA is used as a comparison tool for energy and health performance.
  • Recognize and explain usability and challenges for practitioners in handling material credits and product selection in LEED v4.1.
  • Discuss the interconnectivity of innovation and market drivers in product formulation development and building design.


This free course is brought to you through a partnership with GAF. By registering for this course, you grant AIA permission to share your name and email address with GAF.

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Average: 4.3 (1572 votes)
 $0  non-member
 $0  member
1.00 LU
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • Jennifer Keegan

    Assoc. AIA

    Director of Building & Roofing Science | GAF

    Jennifer is the Director of Building & Roofing Science for GAF, focusing on overall roof system...
  • Benjamin Meyer Headshot

    Benjamin Meyer


    Roofing & Building Science Architect | GAF

    Benjamin Meyer, AIA, LEED AP is a Roofing & Building Science Architect with GAF. Previous...