I’ve been researching more sustainable design methods in architecture. As a structural engineer, the embodied carbon is the factor you contribute most to, so I’ve been looking at this in more detail.
One of the first parts to understand that the cradle to gate numbers quoted by suppliers or that people calculate using the Inventory of Carbon and Energy database (ICE database) are only the start of the process.
There are several other stages which also need to be considered, including construction, in use, end of life and wider benefits and loads. A decision to use a low impact material based on its cradle to gate information, could lead to a larger impact due to the other stages.
I have some more research to do into this.