HomebuildersCAN: Embodied Carbon for Homebuilders—Made Easy

HomebuildersCAN provides a supportive network for homebuilders to learn how to profitably and productively factor embodied carbon into high-performance building practices.

The challenges homebuilders face grow every year. In addition to the business of designing, constructing, and selling homes, there is a constant need to keep up with code changes, new regulations, and consumer demands. 


Climate change is bringing additional pressures to build for efficiency and electrification. And now, embodied carbon is another aspect home builders must factor into their business model.

This April, RMI (founded as Rocky Mountain Institute) is launching the Homebuilders Carbon Action Network (HomebuildersCAN), with the primary purpose of helping professionals understand embodied carbon and learn how to measure and reduce it in a productive and profitable way.

The official launch event on April 3 will be hosted online and offer attendees an example of the practical and actionable advice that will benefit members of the group. In addition to sharing new updates on the program and what participants can expect, the launch will feature the results of a study demonstrating the win-win for builders who focus on the airtightness of their homes. 

3 Goals of HomebuildersCAN

RMI embodied carbon expert Chris Magwood was a homebuilder for more than 25 years and brings that experience to organizing HomebuildersCAN. “When you realize that your industry is responsible for tens of millions of tons of emissions—as much as the entire economies of other countries—the call to action is obvious,” he says. “But this isn’t an issue that gets solved one house at a time, it requires a collective effort across a wide stripe of the industry. That’s what we’re trying to ignite through HomebuildersCAN.”

Summary of studies demonstrating the scale of embodied carbon from new homes in the US

Magwood was a co-author of a 2023 RMI report that was an early attempt to understand the scale of embodied carbon in residential construction and how the industry can effectively respond.

The good news, he says, is that “there is still a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to reducing embodied carbon today.” The findings in the report reveal how 20-40% reductions in embodied carbon can be achieved through smart material selection and other simple interventions—many of which support energy efficiency and healthy interiors measures homebuilders are typically already planning.

“There are some very straightforward pathways to huge improvements in climate performance at cost parity,” said Magwood.

HomebuildersCAN was conceived as a “community of practice” where homebuilders and energy raters can engage with experts and peers through online workshops, webinars, and roundtable discussions.

Members will benefit from free, monthly workshops and webinars intended to accelerate understanding and action on embodied carbon, including demonstrations of embodied carbon tools and case studies of low-carbon homes from peers. Participants will also be able to access case studies, tools, guides, standards and other useful embodied carbon resources.

Early Supporters of HomebuildersCAN

Aaron Smith, CEO of EEBA has been a supporter of HomebuildersCAN from the beginning. “I would say decarbonization has become a top priority for the EEBA community, and we’re really excited to support HomebuildersCAN and... bringing some conversation together across all of our stakeholders. It’s time for radical collaboration!”

Decarbonization efforts are beginning to transform the homebuilding sector, but action on embodied carbon is in its early stages. There is no better time to hop on board for the ride at HomebuildersCAN, along with your peers and a dedicated team of experts.

Don’t miss their virtual launch event on April 3rd! Click here to register for the event today!