The construction industry was responsible for 37%¹ of total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2021 including embodied carbon which refers to the quantity of greenhouse gas (GHG) released over a building’s life cycle, from the manufacturing of materials to the end-life stage. In contrast to the operational carbon, where GHG are emitted from the energy use: heating and/ or cooling of the building.
As the energy efficiency of new buildings continues to improve and the use of renewable energy increases, the percentage of embodied carbon in building emissions becomes more important.
The embodied carbon content of buildings might differ greatly depending on the building type and the materials used. However, it is necessary to minimize the environmental impact of both new and old buildings by using a life-cycle assessment at the building level. Considering the carbon incorporated into a building during the design stage can lead to choosing materials with lower overall emissions.
How do we act?
Following this approach, Saint-Gobain Glass is proud to have launched in summer 2022 the first low-carbon glass offer on the market, ORAÉ®, to pave the way for the decarbonization of glass for buildings. In April 2023, a new significant step has been taken forward: ORAÉ® has now a verified EPD, that confirms ORAÉ® as the glass with the world's lowest carbon footprint, setting a new standard at 6.64 kg CO2 eq./m2 (for a 4mm substrate), a reduction of 42% compared to Saint-Gobain Glass European baseline for clear glass.
Furthermore, at Saint-Gobain Glass, we believe that lightweight solutions play a key role in reducing the embodied carbon of buildings. Therefore, we have developed lightweight glass solutions reaching lower embodied carbon while ensuring the same performance and aesthetics. We offer robust and performing light alternatives for insulation, thermal comfort, safety and acoustics that are also more sustainable.
Being transparent about our impacts
We assess the environmental impact of our glass solutions and ensure transparent communication by publishing verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
An EPD is a third-party verified document that provides information on the environmental impact of a specific building material. It follows the life-cycle assessment method and international standards have been implemented to ensure the consistency of these declarations. All our EPDs are available on environdec.com
Thanks to our glazing configurator online Calumen®, it is now possible to estimate the carbon footprint of any kind of glazing: go to calumen.com
¹ Global alliance for buildings and construction: 2022 global status report for buildings and construction