Embodied Carbon Researcher 4

Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Carbon Leadership Forum, University of Washington Employer:
Mon, Aug 8 '22Posted on:

The Carbon Leadership Forum, a research organization based out of the University of Washington's College of Built Environment, is seeking a collaborative 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:

  1. 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; and

  2. 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.

  3. Building 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 Researcher will be responsible for development and application of emerging research related to data, tools and frameworks that improve the methods for embodied carbon reporting, evaluation and reduction. This will include project management, development of guidance documents and educational resources, and outreach to support embodied carbon reductions in the building industry. The Researcher will work collaboratively in an integrated team with backgrounds in architecture, engineering, environmental policy, and materials manufacturing. This position will report to CLF’s Managing Director and be a part of the CLF’s core research team. 

As a CLF researcher, you will have the opportunity to work collaboratively with our internal research team, building industry firms, partner nonprofits, and/ or policy makers focused on embodied carbon. This will include leading research and engaging diverse stakeholders to support the development and implementation of our research agenda. 

This position requires experience in either building performance, computation, technical project management, 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. 

Position responsibilities

85% Research

Lead research to support development of accessible, reliable, and trusted LCA tools, frameworks, methods and data, and the adoption of that knowledge in practice. 

This includes:

  • Manage multiple projects including their planning, scheduling and execution. Depending on the project scale this will require sole ownership of the project execution or the responsibility to manage and monitor the work of others to ensure the project meets project objectives.

  • Lead development of new knowledge, data and resources to advance embodied carbon data and methodology

  • Advance the state of LCA practice and carbon accounting by developing and leading complex projects that include:

    • Novel and/ or improved 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

  • Own relationships and collaboration with clients, partners and UW research teams. Monitor the work of others and redirect efforts to achieve task/project objectives or enhance quality. Mentor junior staff in development of technical, project and business development skills.

  • Management of project meetings and workflows for research projects

  • Review and track relevant research and reports

  • Lead or delegate the preparation and review of reports, articles, and presentations to communicate project updates and research results, including visual representations of data 

  • Conduct or delegate literature reviews and develop summary reports of the state of the industry including both evaluation of current practices and recommendations for future development.

10% Organizational Development

  • Understand the broad strategic objectives of the Carbon Leadership Forum and contribute to their execution and refinement

  • Provides major input to staffing of overall project teams; builds team & staff to optimize efficiency & cost effectiveness

  • Use peer network to expand technical capabilities and identify new research opportunities

  • Support or lead ongoing strategic organizational needs such as grant development, publishing articles, etc.

5% 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

  • 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

  • Serve on embodied carbon/building material advisory boards for industry NGOs and government agencies

  • Chair sessions at technical meetings

Type of experience required:

  • Experience contributing to complex projects and diverse teams with demonstrated examples of successful completion.

  • Demonstrated commitment to value diversity and contribute to an inclusive working and learning environment.

  • Project leadership-experience mentoring and managing technical staff

  • Established technical expertise in LCA and embodied carbon in order to serve as a technical resource to the Carbon Leadership Forum, College of Built Environments and UW.

  • Comprehensive knowledge of LCA data, methods and application and understanding of principles of relevant LCA standards.

  • Ability to analyze and visualize data using tools such as Excel, Tableau and/or other database systems.

  • Experience leading complex technical projects and diverse teams with demonstrated examples of successful completion

  • Strong communication skills (verbal and written)

  • Understanding of the building/construction industry and experience collaborating with diverse industry stakeholders.

  • Recognized as a technical embodied carbon leader

Desired – Education, work experience: 

  • PhD in environmental studies, engineering, architecture, or related field.

  • Experience working in the building/construction industry

  • Project management experience including budget oversight, staffing, delegation, partner communication, etc. 

  • 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 

  • Experience with grant writing and development of relationships with funding organizations 

  • Experience using, developing and/or evaluating whole building LCA software, LCA datasets and Environmental Product Declarations.


Learn more here

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