December 19, 2023

From the desk of Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs

Architect: ZGF
California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, William and Linda Frost Center for Research and Innovation
PHOTO: PHOTO: Magda Biernat

Councilmember Raman Advances Motion on Embodied Carbon – Council File: 23-1391

Exciting news! AIA|LA’s Embodied Carbon advocacy is building momentum, and you can help make history!

On December 6th, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a motion that could transform how we build in Los Angeles. This motion calls for LADBS and other city departments to report back to City Council on a strategy to limit the embodied carbon of new construction and major additions to buildings over 50,000 square feet.

Councilmember Katy Yaroslavsky joined Raman in championing this critical measure, which will be referred next to the Energy and Environment Committee and the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

If the motion is supported by a majority of City Council, it will establish a pathway towards mandating a Whole Building Life Cycle Analysis (WBCLA) for new projects over 50,000 sq.ft. with a goal of reducing a project’s global warming potential (GWP) over a specified baseline. Strategies will include utilizing low-carbon concrete and/or other building materials as specified in the Buy Clean California Act (BCCA).

According to Avideh Haghighi, AIA this effort “basically mirrors the embodied carbon structure and pathways in CalGreen. Given that we wrote this motion in tandem with the development of the CalGreen embodied carbon requirements, it aims to essentially adopt the same measures but with lower thresholds of 50k SF. An outcome of this motion, though, could very well be adoption of a CalGreen Tier for embodied carbon.”

This motion is the culmination of nearly two years of work led by AIA Los Angeles and a coalition of architects, structural engineers, and sustainability experts.

We want to especially commend the following people for their leadership, dedication, and expertise:

+  Avideh Haghighi, AIA, LFA, LEED GA – Associate Principal, ZGF ARCHITECTS LLP
+  Laura Karnath, AIA, NCARB – Senior Enclosure Technical Designer, Walter P Moore
+  Rachelle Habchi, MS, PE – Project Engineer & Director of Sustainability, Glotman Simpson
+  Luke Lombardi, PE – Senior Sustainability Consultant, Buro Happold
+  Scott Morris – The Low Carbon Initiative
+  Hafsa Burt, AIA, LFA, LEED® AP BD+C – HB+A Architects
+  Webly Bowles, AIA, LEED-BD+C & O+M – Associate Director of Codes and Policy, New Buildings Institute
+  Anish Tilak, RA, LEED AP – Carbon Free Buildings Manager, RMI
+  Kanika Sharma​, LFA, LEED AP BD+C – Associate Principal, Sustainability, Integral Group

What is embodied carbon? It’s the greenhouse gas emissions baked into the materials and construction of a building. Concrete, steel, glass, and other building materials (and construction processes all have significant embodied carbon footprints, and this motion is a crucial step towards reducing Los Angeles’ overall climate impact.

Here’s what the motion does:

+  Directs LADBS and other key city departments to develop recommendations for updating the Los Angeles Green Building Code with embodied carbon limits.
+  Sets a pathway for mandatory Whole Building Life Cycle Analysis (WBCLA) for large projects. This analysis would measure a building’s carbon footprint over its entire lifespan, from creation to demolition.
+  Promotes the use of low-carbon materials like those specified in the Buy Clean California Act.

This is a huge win for our environment and our future. AIA Los Angeles has been working tirelessly on this issue for nearly two years, and we’re thrilled to see our efforts gaining traction.

But we need your leadership and direct involvement to help make this motion a reality!

Here’s what you can do:

+  Contact your City Councilmember and urge them to support the motion.  Please share your support letter via the Office of the City Clerk’s Public Comment Form and enter “Council File 23-1391”.
+  Spread the word! Share this post with your friends, family, and colleagues.
+  Join AIA|LA’s Embodied Carbon Task Force (Contact Will Wright at We’re always looking for passionate advocates to lead us towards a more sustainable future.

Together, we can make Los Angeles a leader in embodied carbon reduction. Let’s make history!

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the following resources for more information:

AIA’s Zero Carbon webpage  
AIA-CLF Embodied Carbon Toolkit for Architects
The City of Los Angeles’ Green Building Code
The Buy Clean California Act

Together, we can build a greener future for Los Angeles!

If you’d like to share a letter of support, please share your letter via the Office of the City Clerk’s Public Comment Form and enter Council File 23-1391.

To read the letter of support that AIA|LA shared earlier this year, CLICK HERE.



LACP Design Review Sessions

In 2024, we will be coordinating thirty-six virtual design review sessions, which will serve as opportunities for architects and designers to help the Los Angeles City Planning’s Urban Design Studio critically review upcoming projects throughout the City.

Upcoming sessions include:

Tuesday, January 2 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, January 9 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, January 16 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, February 6 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, February 13 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, February 20 (10am – 12pm)
Tuesday, March 5 (10am – 12pm)

Join us here w/ RSVP to gain zoom access.



Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
t: 213.639.0764