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BSA News

Jul 13, 2023

Building the Future: Carbon Leadership Forum Internship Tackles Embodied Carbon

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Gladys Manzira.

Photo courtesy of Gladys Manzira.

Earth may have just recorded its hottest day in known human history, but this summer, the BSA fights the heat with a new Carbon Leadership Forum Internship, designed to engage the next generation of young sustainability leaders in addressing embodied carbon in buildings.

For eight weeks beginning in July, the BSA will host a paid intern as part of an effort to introduce young college and graduate students to careers in green energy and sustainability. With guidance and support from BSA Carbon Leadership Forum/Boston (CLF/Boston) members, who are part of a larger national Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), Gladys Manzira will support multiple projects confronting embodied carbon. As an undergraduate in the class of 2024 at Washington University in St. Louis, Manzira brings to the internship an environmental analysis major and minors in studio art and art history and archaeology.

"I've taken many classes in environmental studies and a couple on the history of architecture," said Manzira, "so it is exciting to be a part of a sustainability initiative that overlaps the two disciplines. I look forward to contributing to a greater awareness of the significant role of buildings in climate change through our work and applying my experience with the BSA and CLF to my future environmental endeavors."

Funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), a state agency focused on the economic development of a clean energy sector and economy, Manzira's work will principally center on planning a BSA-sponsored 2024 embodied carbon conference that follows up on an initial conference held five years ago. Manzira will also concentrate on helping a CLF/Boston education subgroup collect case studies of local projects that have tracked embodied carbon, and updating related websites. The internship will include time at BSA offices as well as rotation among the offices of BSA member firms that participate in CLF/Boston.

The work quite literally builds on the past. Embodied carbon in buildings comprises the carbon emissions associated with the full lifecycle of producing a building—from construction to demolition to recycling—as opposed to emissions from ongoing operational activities like heating, cooling, and lighting. Production of concrete and steel are particularly carbon intensive. Embodied carbon represents 11 percent of total global emissions, and therefore is a critical contributor to global warming.

Programmatically, too, the new internship builds on embodied carbon initiatives already underway at the BSA. Among the efforts that Manzira will support are stakeholder engagement, surveys, and workshops.

For more about embodied carbon, the BSA's efforts, and clean energy economic development in Massachusetts, visit the BSA's Embodied Carbon 101 series, the CLF/Boston site, or the MassCEC webpage.