Bay Area Low-Carbon Concrete Codes Project

Community Development Agency

Program Overview

In 2018, the County of Marin was granted funds from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)'s Climate Protection Grant Program. This project aims to reduce embodied emissions in the built environment by creating local specifications and model policies for low embodied-carbon concrete, developed through a robust regional stakeholder engagement process. The County of Marin leads the project, working in close partnership with StopWaste (Alameda County), Bruce King, Arup, and the Carbon Leadership Forum. The project proposal submitted to and funded by BAAQMD was supported by the City and County of San Francisco, County of Alameda, City of Berkeley, USGBC, and over 30 building industry companies and organizations that work in the Bay Area.


What Are "Embodied Emissions"?

Embodied (or embedded) emissions are emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases generated by making and transporting materials to a building site, including mining, refining, and shipping. Cement use in concrete is the largest single material source of embodied emissions in buildings, and makes for an estimated 8% of global emissions. Replacing cement with currently available alternative cementitious materials, such as fly ash or slag, and other practices to "decarbonize" concrete has the potential of reducing total emissions from concrete by more than half.

Read more about low-carbon concrete at Architecture 2030.

Learn more about embodied carbon through the Embodied Carbon Network, an international network of over 250 members.

Program Goal and Target Outcomes

The goal of the project is to reduce the carbon emissions embodied in building materials, starting with concrete, through modifications to building standards locally. There are four key outcomes identified in the work plan:

  1. Model code language for adoption by local governments. County of Marin staff will bring this language to the Board of Supervisors as part of 2019 Title 24 updates in the fall of 2019.
  2. Low embodied-carbon concrete specifications for residential and non-residential applications.
  3. Four pilot projects receiving technical assistance to apply the specifications by 2022.
  4. Formation of a Bay Area Concrete Working Group as an extension of the Embodied Carbon Network.


Project Documents (updated 8/14/2019)

The following documents are draft versions of code and specification language the County is currently seeking comment on. Please email Alice Zanmiller to provide comment or look for the comment docket.

Background Documents


Project Updates

Interested in receiving updated about the County's Low Carbon Concrete Codes Project? Email Alice Zanmiller to be added to our mailing list.


Questions? Feedback?

Please contact Alice Zanmiller, Planner, at or (415) 473-2797