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Arup structural engineers commit to eliminate embodied carbon in projects by 2050

Jackie Wei Green Jackie Wei Green Senior Communications Leader,Los Angeles
1 February 2021

Arup is proud to join the SE 2050 Commitment Program supporting the need for coordinated action across the engineering profession to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. Launched by the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the program is led by a group of structural engineers to ensure substantive embodied carbon reductions in the design and construction of our structural systems. Arup is a member of the inaugural group of signatories alongside 13 other leading firms. 

Structural engineers have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector, yet sustainable design has traditionally been the realm of the architect and other design team members. Structural materials make up at least 50% of the upfront carbon embodied in a building and they are a significant contributor to the building sector’s impact on global climate change. The move towards a zero-carbon built environment must address embodied carbon. 

“The SE 2050 Commitment Program directly ties the importance of structural engineers in reducing embodied carbon emissions and emboldens our efforts to mitigate the climate change,” says Lauren Wingo, Arup Senior Engineer and Secretary of the SE 2050 Leadership Group. “Arup’s early support of SE 2050 has been in alignment with our firm’s adoption of sustainability principles.”

“Our most widely used structural materials — cement and steel — are responsible for nearly 12% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, so it is crucial to slash their emissions if we are to stay within our planet’s critical 500 giga ton additional carbon dioxide limit to avoid irreversible climate change,” says Frances Yang, Arup Associate and SE 2050 Vice-Chair.

The SE 2050 Commitment Program aims to achieve net zero embodied carbon structures by 2050 by providing the structural engineering community the resources and guidance needed to make this goal a reality.