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An Embodied Carbon Dashboard using Speckle and EC3
As the building industry heads towards environmental accountability, we've seen growing interest in tools and platforms that expose building material data to trace carbon impact. Like many cross-functional professionals, Maryanne Wachter, a structural engineer turned software developer, saw her interest in sustainable engineering as an opportunity to combine her background in life cycle assessment on building projects with her current web-based skillset.
The end result was a React app that estimated embodied carbon (see Life-Cycle Stages) per material for an IFC building file, while pulling each material's Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for up to 50 of the closest geographical locations. This calculation exposes how geographic location of the building project can change embodied carbon values, especially since the distance of material supply sources to the building site can dramatically impact sustainability metrics.
Maryanne used Speckle's IFC.js integration to embed the building project in her web app and pull material quantities for her calculations through Speckle's Grasshopper connector. She leveraged Speckle's open source API and EPD data from EC3 (one of the few freely available EPD repositories) in her exploratory project - a wonderful showcase for the importance of knowledge sharing in a traditionally information-locked industry!
Interested in the technical details of how Maryanne built the dashboard? Read more at her blog post here.
I’m a structural engineer turned freelance software developer, working on a variety of projects in and around the built environment. I grew up in Louisiana, but I’ve worked on both coasts and in Europe as an engineer before settling just outside of Los Angeles.
I was able to do some software development in my previous structural engineering roles, like writing extensions for Ansys in Python and developing auto-documentation tools in C#. Since I started freelancing, I’ve had much more freedom to work on projects that really interest me, including visualizing infrastructure datasets.
I’ve recently been concentrating on full-stack web development. There’s a lot of interest in the structural engineering community for building workflows that integrate embodied carbon metrics, but most involve proprietary software either on the modeling side or on the life cycle assessment side. I wanted to use IFC.js, Speckle and EC3 to show that this type of evaluation doesn’t have to be locked up in proprietary formats or black box analysis programs and can be beautifully presented in simple dashboards.
I really enjoyed how easy it was to work with Speckle (the drag and drop IFC importer made my life very easy on the modeling side!), as well as getting support on the forums for working with the GraphQL API. I can’t wait to see what developments come from the Speckle team and community to bring new insights to AEC data.