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  • SE3 Committee

Read.Watch.Listen. Embodied Carbon and Structural Engineering

June 2023 Issue

A monthly forum to share diversity, equity, and inclusion resources.

Welcome to the next installment of Read.Watch.Listen. This month, we highlight the relationship between structural engineering and embodied carbon in the construction industry. As structural engineers, we have the ability and the responsibility to produce sustainable designs in order to help protect our communities and our planet. Reducing embodied carbon in our structural designs is one way to incorporate sustainable practices.

One powerful initiative related to the reduction of embodied carbon is the SE 2050 Commitment Program, which was developed in response to the SE 2050 Challenge. This challenge advocated that "all structural engineers shall understand, reduce and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in their projects by 2050." The following Read, Watch, and Listen resources provide information about embodied carbon, the SE 2050 Program, and how structural engineers can help reduce these greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the first annual report of the SE 2050 Commitment Program was recently published if you are interested in learning about their progress. NCSEA's Sustainable Design Committee (SDC) has more information on embodied carbon in structural engineering, along with other sustainability resources, if you are interested in diving deeper into this topic.

Also, happy Pride Month! We invite you to review last June's Read.Watch.Listen post, in which we celebrated LGBTQ+ engineers.

Image from ENR

Read.Watch.Listen is a monthly forum hosted by the NCSEA SE3 Committee to share and promote conversations on diversity, equity and inclusion within the structural engineering profession. Each month, we will curate a series of articles, audio-visual and digital media to facilitate self-education in matters that affect our professional practice as structural engineers. Whether you choose to read, watch, or listen (or all three!), we hope you will join us in this important conversation. Missed the previous issue? Check out the NCSEA SE3 Committee News and Publication page.

Share your thoughts and/or recommended resources for the next issue at


What is Embodied Carbon? - Structural Engineering Institute (SEI)

This page gives a concise introduction to the definition of embodied carbon, how it appears in structural systems, and how structural engineers can go about reducing its impacts. If you're unfamiliar with embodied carbon and how it relates to our industry, or you're just looking for a quick refresher, this is a great place to start.


Reducing Embodied Carbon in Construction: How Structural Engineers Can Help - Engineering Management Institute

Megan Stringer SE, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Principal at Holmes talks about how engineers can help reduce embodied carbon in building construction. She discusses the SE2050 program in depth and overviews how firms can join the commitment. She also shares lessons learned related to sustainable design and advice for younger engineers.


Building with the Future in Mind - Structural Engineering Podcast

In this podcast, Ethan Fogle of HGA Architects and Engineers discusses sustainability and embodied carbon as it relates to structural engineers. As part of the discussion, he shares how sustainability can be incorporated into the design process and advocates for engineers to get involved early. He also provides information on the positive impact of using mass timber material whenever possible.


This article was originally published in the June 2023 issue of NCSEA's Structural Connection newsletter. For more information, check out NCSEA's DEI Resources.



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