Considering Carbon in the Design of Building Enclosures


What This Presentation Covers:

Many of our local communities urgently need homes that are more resilient to the effects of climate change such as frequent wildfires, floods, and heat waves. To mitigate further climate change impacts, many building projects aim to use materials with lower embodied carbon, yet builders in the past few years have been faced with ongoing worldwide supply chain issues. In this presentation, Graham Finch will dissect the building enclosure of a typical new wood-frame home to help builders understand the interplay of fundamental requirements like heat, air, vapor, and water control along with growing considerations for embodied carbon, resilience to wildfires and water, and material availability. This presentation will cover the building enclosure design and material selection from below-grade floors and walls to above-grade walls and roof assemblies. Builders will take away a renewed sense of clarity about best practice future-proof building enclosures given the many goals that their projects are trying to achieve.

 You'll Learn About:

  • Recognizing the current challenges builders face when selecting building materials while balancing performance, cost, durability, and embodied carbon.
  • Comparing different building enclosure material choices in terms of embodied carbon.
  • Identifying the impacts of material selection on heat, air, and moisture control in buildings.
  • Identifying materials and enclosure designs that are more resilient to fire and flooding and how they can be incorporated into home designs.


  • Format: 1 hour recording and quiz. Downloadable slides are included.
  • Audience: North American home builders, designers, developers, and homeowners interested in single-family and low-rise multi-family archetypes.

Continuing Education Credits: 

About Building Science Live - On Demand:

Building Science Live On-Demand is a series of pre-recorded webinar events delivered by RDH's building science specialists. A new topic is explored during each session with topics ranging from building science fundamentals to high-performance design. View more Building Science Live On-Demand learning opportunities here.