Building and Materials Researcher

Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Employer:
Tue, Dec 21 '21Posted on:

The Carbon Leadership Forum in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington has an outstanding opportunity for a Building and Materials Researcher.  The Carbon Leadership Forum, a research organization based out of the University of Washington's College of Built Environment, is seeking a collaborative Building and Materials Researcher to help execute our mission to accelerate the decarbonization of the building sector through eliminating the embodied carbon in building materials and construction through collective action.

Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of construction materials used in buildings, roads, and other infrastructure.  We need to reduce embodied carbon by 40-65% by 2030 to meet the reduction scenarios set by the IPCC to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change, and yet current building design and construction practice is failing to adequately address embodied carbon and make meaningful progress. We believe that robust, multi-disciplinary, collaborative research on embodied carbon and decarbonization pathways paired with accessible tools and resources is critical to making progress across the building sector.

The Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) has three strategic pillars to help us reach our mission:

Advance Data and Methods: We align, assess and advance life cycle assessment data, tools, and methodology to increase access and availability of robust data for effective decision-making; Inform Effective and Just Policy: We develop research, analysis, and model policy language and act as a technical advisor to inform policy development. Our work spans local, state, federal and corporate policy; and Build Community for Impact: We build and convene a diverse network of leaders through our online forum and regional hubs to enable widespread action to reduce embodied carbon

The Buildings and Materials Researcher would be responsible for the execution of research and analysis, development of guidance documents and educational resources, and outreach across the design community to improve the quality, accuracy, and effectiveness of building performance tools, methods and data that address embodied carbon. The Buildings and Material Researcher would work collaboratively in an integrated team with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, environmental policy, and materials manufacturing. This position will report to the Senior LCA Data and Methods Researcher and be a part of the CLF’s core research team.

As a building and materials researcher, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with our internal research team, as well as with architecture and engineering firms and research consortiums across N America. You will learn a suite of analytical tools for evaluating environmental impacts and comparing materials, products, assemblies and whole buildings. You will have the opportunity to develop a deeper body of expertise on one or more material supply chains (such as concrete, steel, plastics, wood and other bio-based materials). All researchers will need to present results of analysis verbally, in written form, and with diagrams/graphics.

This position requires experience in either building performance, computation, embodied carbon assessments, or life cycle assessment (LCA). This position will benefit from experience in architectural design, engineering or materials research, but such background is not required.  Depending on level of experience the CLF will provide in house resources and mentorship for training.

Duties & Responsibilities:


Conduct research to support development of accessible, reliable, and trusted LCA tools, methods and data, and the adoption of such tools in practice.

This includes:

Develop new knowledge, data and resources to advance embodied carbon data and methodology.
Advance the state of LCA practice and carbon accounting by developing and implementing projects that include:
LCA practice guides for the building industry
Material and Building-level benchmark studies
Novel methods to conduct whole building LCAs
Integration of embodied carbon reduction strategies in practice.
In depth research on material supply chains, such as wood or other bio-based materials
Research on novel carbon storage or sequestration technologies and their representation in carbon accounting
Perform interviews and convene stakeholders to inform and assess CLF research
Management of project meetings and tasks for research projects
Monitor and internally communicate relevant trends across building, industrial, and energy sectors
Review and track relevant research and reports
Lead and/or assist in the preparation and review of reports, articles, and presentations to communicate research results, including visual representations of data
Serve on relevant advisory committees
Interface with clients, partners and UW research teams

Education and Outreach

Build capacity for embodied carbon accounting and LCA modeling by architecture, engineering and construction community through presentations and trainings to designers, students, and interested groups, including:

Deliver presentations on climate literacy, LCA, decarbonization strategies, the results of CLF studies
Present at webinars/events developed by external organizations.
Respond to requests for technical expertise and guidance from designers, industry, NGO partners, and other stakeholders
Develop educational resources and tools that support adoption of LCA and carbon accounting on design projects including: case studies, primers, reports, tool reviews, technical briefs, and trainings

Organizational Development

Understand the broad strategic objectives of the Carbon Leadership Forum and contribute to their execution and refinement.
Uses peer network to expand technical capabilities and identify new research opportunities.
Supports ongoing CLF administrative needs such as grant development, copy editing, writing articles, etc.

As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs. For a complete description of our benefits for this position, please visit our website, click here.

Required Qualifications

   Master’s Degree in architecture, engineering, building science, computation, environmental studies/forestry, or related field

    1 year of related experience

    Engagement with carbon accounting, building performance analysis, tool development or other forms of research and analysis related to the building, industry, and/or forestry sectors.
    General knowledge of LCA data, methods and application in design optimization.
    Strong communication skills (verbal and written)
    Ability to analyze and visualize data using tools such as Excel, Tableau and/or other similar software
    Experience contributing to complex projects and diverse teams with demonstrated examples of successful completion.
    Basic understanding of the building/construction industry
    Demonstrated commitment to value diversity and contribute to an inclusive working and learning environment.

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.


    Experience working in the building/construction industry
    Experience using whole building LCA software, LCA datasets and Environmental Product Declarations.
    Experience in the use of Life Cycle Assessment software (Gabi, SimaPro or OpenLCA) to conduct life cycle assessments of building materials and products.
    Experience with scripting using one or more of the following: Python, R, Java D3 or any similar tool
    Experience initiating and executing a research project
    Developing reputation as demonstrated by invited or peer review presentations at national conferences and/or publications.
    Experience developing and executing educational resources such as coursework and/or practice guides.
    Experience collaborating with diverse industry stakeholders
    Graphic design/representation skills
    Non-profit and/or academic experience


Apply here

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