Carbon Leadership Forum

Structural engineers have the opportunity to be leaders in the growing market of climate-smart building design and construction.

Structural materials account for at least 50% of the carbon emitted in production, delivery, and installation of materials for new construction; these ‘embodied carbon’ impacts of structures are significant and must be addressed.

The latest IPCC reports tell us the buildings sector only has until 2050 to reach carbon neutrality.  Structural engineers must act now.

The Carbon Leadership Forum issues the “Structural Engineers 2050 Challenge”:

All structural engineers shall understand, reduce and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in their projects by 2050.

NEWS FLASH – December 19, 2019

We are very happy to report that the Board of Governors of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has voted unanimously to endorse the SE 2050 Challenge issued by the Carbon Leadership Forum.  This is a major milestone to the development of a national SE 2050 Commitment Program in response to the SE 2050 Challenge currently in development by SEI and the SEI Sustainability Committee.


The goal of the Structural Engineers 2050 (SE 2050) Challenge is to inspire structural engineers to contribute towards the global vision of Zero Carbon buildings by 2050, and to provide measurements of progress towards that vision. Much like the AIA 2030 Challenge does for operational energy in buildings, this SE 2050 initiative will challenge structural engineers to meet embodied carbon benchmarks and increasingly higher reduction targets in a “race towards the most efficient building” as we approach the year 2050.

Join us

An important component of this is that the structural engineering community will require robust datasets and common benchmarks to appropriately assess progress.  The architecture community successfully responded to the Architecture 2030 Challenge and implemented the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment, which challenged architectural firms to report project-based predicted energy use intensity (EUI) towards the Architecture 2030 Challenge goal of reaching zero operational carbon by 2030. Similarly, partners are needed to create an SE 2050 Challenge program for individuals and organizations to act and advance towards a shared goal of eliminating embodied carbon by 2050.

Looking for more information about how to act?  Go to the ACT NOW section. More news soon about how YOU can be involved as this initiative unfolds with the strong backing of the Structural Engineering Institute along with structural engineers, their firms, and nongovernmental organizations across the building industry.

Act now

Structural engineers who accept the challenge, the time to act is now. There are many avenues to help us meet the goal of eliminating embodied carbon.  In order to accelerate embodied carbon reduction in structural systems and materials structural engineers can adopt the following practices:

  1. Assess the embodied carbon of structural systems and create a plan for reduction and accounting.
  2. Apply lower embodied carbon design strategies (including re-use and performance-based specifications) and material choices into projects.
  3. Encourage industry and policies to broaden the availability of low carbon and carbon sequestering materials.
  4. Collaborate with other design professionals to reduce the total embodied carbon of buildings.
  5. Review the embodied carbon of the structural systems of buildings and infrastructure and assess progress toward reduction targets.
  6. Share knowledge and data to accelerate broader action towards embodied carbon reduction.
How to… Individual Companies Implementers
  • Support staff education
  • Form internal working groups
  • Join CLF
  • Support staff and member engagement
  • Analyze embodied carbon data
  • Conduct LCA of projects
  • Test ‘carbon smart’ specifications
  • Pilot projects
  • ‘Carbon smart’ specification
  • Track structural material and embodied carbon quantities
  • Conduct LCAs of projects
  • Develop roadmap for supporting significant embodied carbon reductions
  • Disseminate and engage members
  • Post/discuss on ECN
  • Present to your office
  • Present to your clients
  • Share data to help establish benchmarks
  • Present to your clients
  • Publish methodology open-source
  • Share data in order to advance the profession while maintaining confidentiality
  • Publish reports tracking progress


The SE 2050 Challenge has developed as a collaborative exercise with contributions from a global network of committed individuals.  The following is a brief history of the initiative.

In 2014, Catherine De Wolf initiated deQo (the database of embodied Quantity outputs) as part of her MIT PhD dissertation completed in 2017. This database included structural material quantities from professional engineers including Arup and Thornton Tomasetti (TT). Inspired from this collaboration, the team, including Duncan Cox (TT), Catherine De Wolf (MIT/EPFL), Amy Hattan (TT ) Kate Simonen (Carbon Leadership Forum/UW), Wil Srubar (U Colorado Boulder) and Frances Yang (Arup) conceived of an idea for a challenge to structural engineers to track and report structural material quantities and embodied carbon and brought the idea to the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) of which Arup and TT are sponsors.  In 2016, CLF established an interim core working group to develop a data-driven commitment for structural engineering firms to work towards zero embodied carbon buildings. Arup and TT participated as pilot partners and this became known as “SE 2050”. In Spring 2018, Frances Yang (Arup) and Wil Srubar (U Colorado) introduced the SE 2050 Challenge to the ASCE SEI Sustainability Committee proposing that ASCE/SEI challenge their members to make an SE/SEI 2050 commitment program to track, report and work to reduce embodied carbon from structural materials. Throughout the remainder of 2018, and into 2019, a larger group including a newly formed SE 2050 Working Group within the SEI Sustainability Committee, has advanced the development of the program to encourage broader adoption among structural engineering firms.

In 2019 the Carbon Leadership Forum formally defined the SE 2050 challenge and committed to working with individuals and organizations to establish mechanisms to commit to and advance the goals of the SE 2050 Challenge.

Grateful appreciation is due to the following individuals who have contributed to this initiative (listed alphabetically by first name):

  • Amy Hattan (Thornton Tomasetti)
  • Catherine De Wolf (EPFL)
  • Christopher Horiuchi (SOM)
  • Dirk Kestner (Walter P Moore)
  • Duncan Cox (Thornton Tomasetti)
  • Emily Lorenz (PCI)
  • Erin McDade (Architecture 2030)
  • Frances Yang (ARUP)
  • Kate Simonen (University of Washington, Carbon Leadership Forum)
  • Kelly Roberts (Walter P. Moore)
  • Kelsey Price (Magnusson Klemencic Associates)
  • Lauren Wingo (ARUP)
  • Mark D. Webster (Simpson Gumpertz & Heger)
  • Megan Stringer (Holmes Structures)
  • Michael Gryniuk (LeMessurier)
  • Teresa Vangeli (WSP)
  • Wil Srubar (University of Colorado)


Signatories to a letter urging the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to formally endorse the SE 2050 Challenge

Updated February 28, 2020:

Firms (structural engineering or multi-disciplinary firm with dedicated structural group)

  • Arup
  • catena consulting engineers
  • Coughlin Porter Lundeen
  • DeSimone Consulting Engineers
  • Douglas Wood Associates, Inc.
  • HKS, Inc.
  • HOK
  • Holmes Structures
  • KL&A Engineers and Builders
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • LeMessurier
  • Lund Opsahl LLC
  • Martinez Moore Engineers
  • MKA
  • PCS Structural Solutions
  • Silman
  • Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.
  • Stantec
  • Structural Focus
  • StructureCraft
  • Studio NYL
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • tk1sc
  • TLC Engineering Solutions
  • Walter P Moore

Individuals (structural engineers)

  • Adele Scampoli, Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Adrianne Richardson, Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Ahcene Larbi, Director of Structures, WSP
  • Ahmed Abdulshafi, Structural Engineer, Cairo University
  • Ainhoa Marin, Bridge and Structural Engineer & PMP, Pontem Engineering Services
  • Alan Dyck, Principal, Stantec
  • Alcaraz Angel, Senior Engineering Manager, Gravity Engineering Inc.
  • Alexander McHugh, Project Manager, KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Ann Jiras, Engineer, Arup
  • Annabel Shephard, Graduate Fellow, Oregon State University
  • Bill Lovallo, Vice President, LeMessurier.
  • Brenda Stern, Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Brian Robinson, Project Engineer, KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Bruce King, Director, Ecological Building Network
  • Cara Agan, Structural EIT, HKS Inc.
  • Carl Kloos, Vice President, Kurt Fischer Structural Engineering
  • Chad Pecsek, Structural Engineer, LeMessurier
  • Chase Young, Structural Project Engineer, KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Chris Jeseritz, Project Manager, PCS Structural Solutions
  • Clark Shellhorse, Structural EIT, HKS Inc.
  • Colin Hug, Engineer/Intern, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Craig Blanchet, Vice President, LeMessurier
  • Daniel Getz, Director of Structural Engineering, HKS, Inc.
  • Dirk Kestner, Principal – Director of Sustainable Design, Walter P Moore
  • Duane Tran, Staff Engineer, KPW Structural Engineers
  • Edward Bond, Associate Director Structural Engineering, Arcadis
  • Eric Borchers, Structural Engineer, Meyer Borgman Johnson
  • Eric Johnson, Engineer, LeMessurier
  • Eric Lemee, Senior Project Manager, WSP
  • Frances Yang, Sustainable Structures and Materials Specialist, Arup
  • Grace Di Benedetto, Structural Engineer, Arup
  • Greg Davenport, Principal, HKS Inc.
  • Greg Kingsley, President and CEO, KL&A Engineers and Builders
  • Jackson Pitofsky, Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • James A. Harriott, President, Harriott Valentine Engineers
  • Jared Lewis, Principal, catena consulting engineers
  • Jason Tornquist, Senior Director | Structural Engineer, tk1sc
  • Jay Arehart, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Jeff Thomas, Project Engineer, BHB Consulting Engineers, PC
  • John Essig, Project Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Jonathan C Ellowitz, Project Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Judd Galloway, Senior Associate, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Julija Martinkeviciute, Structural Engineer, Heyne Tillett Steel
  • Juzer Millwala, Structural Design Engineer, Magnusson Klemencic Associates Inc
  • Kelly Roberts, Principal, Walter P Moore
  • Kelsey Price, Structural Engineer, Magnusson Klemencic Associates
  • Kelsey Wittels, Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Lauren Wingo, Senior Structural Engineer, Arup
  • Leo Garber, Senior Structural Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Li-Anne Sayegh, Structural Engineer, Arup
  • Linlu Chen, EIT, HKS Inc.
  • Lucas Whitesell, Engineer, Arup
  • Luke Lombardi, Senior Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Marjorie Lund, Principal, Lund Opsahl LLC
  • Mark D. Webster, Senior Consulting Engineer, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Mark Nadal, Associate, KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Martin Torres, Graduate Structural Engineer, Walter P Moore
  • Mia Jimenez, Graduate Engineer, Walter P Moore
  • Michael Gryniuk, Associate, LeMessurier
  • Michael Swartz, Structural Engineer, LeMessurier
  • Neil Spazzarini, Structural EIT, LeMessurier
  • Nicholas Allan, Engineering Director, BamCore
  • Nicholas Cordio, Structural Engineer, LeMessurier
  • Robby L Vogel, Structural Engineering Design Lead, Stantec Architecture Inc.
  • Scott McFadden, Senior Structural Engineer, PEO
  • Shana Kelley, Associate – Seattle Structural Director of Sustainable Design, KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • Steve Farvour, Senior Associate, PCS Structural Solutions
  • Steven Shelt, Director of Structural, TLC Engineering Solutions, Inc
  • Teresa C. Vangeli, Supervising Structural Engineer, WSP USA
  • Tom Yost, Senior Associate, Walter P Moore
  • Triveni Mudaliar, Graduate Structural Engineer, Walter P Moore
  • Vaidas Razgaitis, Structural Engineer, Arup
  • Victoria Valencia, Engineer, Arup
  • Wil Srubar, R&D Technical Director / Assistant Professor, Katerra / University of Colorado Boulder
  • Yidi Fang, Engineer, Thornton Tomasetti

Others (non-structural engineering firms or individuals)

  • AbdulShafi Ahmed, Technical Office Engineer / Researcher, Cairo University
  • Alison Nash, Associate, Sustainability Practice Leader, DiMella Shaffer
  • Allison Wilson, Senior Associate, Sustainability Director, Ayers Saint Gross
  • Amy Hattan, Corporate Responsibility Officer, Thornton Tomasetti
  • Andrea Love, Principal, Payette
  • Bob Burnett, Architectural Designer, Bob Burnett Architecture
  • Boris Gamazaychikov, PE, Sustainability Consultant, stok
  • Charles Stott, Principal, Stott Architects
  • Christopher Colasanti, Associate Partner, Jaros Baum & Bolles
  • Colley Hodges, Director of Sustainability, Kirksey Architecture
  • Daniel Piselli, Director of Sustainability, FXCollaborative
  • Erol Oztan, Architect, CEO, Re Use Materials
  • EwingCole (architectural firm)
  • Flad Architects (architectural firm)
  • Gwen Fuertes, Associate, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
  • Harry Flamm, Architect & Sustainability Coordinator, Elkus Manfredi Architects
  • Heather Gayle Holdridge, Sustainability Director, Lake|Flato Architects
  • Helen Kessler, President, HJ Kessler Associates
  • Jacob Knowles, Director of Sustainable Design, BR+A Consulting Engineers
  • Jacob Peel, Architectural Staff, Bora Architects
  • Jacob Werner, Senior Project Architect, Wilson HGA
  • Jennifer Cutbill, Principal, Lateral Agency
  • Joel Onorato, Architect, Hickok Cole Architects
  • Kate Bubriski, Director of Sustainability & Building Performance, Arrowstreet
  • Katie Ackerly, Associate, Sustainability Lead, David Baker Architects
  • Kristen Fritsch, Sustainability coordinator, Elkus Manfredi Architects
  • Mark Kelly, Associate Principal, BAR Architects
  • Mike Fowler, Sustainability Integration Leader, Mithun
  • Mike Manzi, Associate Principal, Bora Architects
  • Nat Crosby, Architect, Sasaki
  • Nicholas Leahy AIA, Co-Ceo and Executive Director, Perkins Eastman
  • Paul Poirier AIA, LEED AP,  Principal Architect, Poirier + Associates Architects
  • Rodrigo Castro, Senior LCA Expert, Bionova Ltd
  • Ryan McClain, Associate, Elkus Manfredi Architects
  • Ryan Zizzo, Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Mantle
  • Tate Walker, Director of Sustainability, OPN Architects, Inc.
  • Vaclav Hasik, Sustainability Analyst, Urban Fabrick Inc.
  • Victoria Herrero-Garcia, Sustainability Consultant, Daylight & WBLCA Analyst, Ambient Energy
  • Vijaykumar Kulkarni, Structural Concrete Consultant, Midas Techfin Consultants LLP