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EC3 Tool and cove.tool

What is EC3 and how to use it?

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

The Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) tool, is an open-source industry-leading sustainability platform that helps professionals find, assess, compare, benchmark, and reduce the amount of embodied carbon used in construction. The database and tool is an open-source platform from the Carbon Leadership Forum and C-Change Labs, as part of an integrated ecosystem of data, tools, and knowledge that empowers, informs and inspires low carbon solutions. cove.tool users can use the EC3 tool to populate kgCO2e values for their building products to calculate their building's embodied carbon.

How to use the EC3 tool?

To use the tool to find Embodied Carbon Values for your cove.tool project follow these 5 easy steps

1. Login into the EC3
The EC3 tool requires you to have an account in order to use the tools. Make a profile and start your search for sustainable building materials. Note that the EC3 tool is a Public Beta Test service and has its own terms of the agreement that you may choose to agree or not agree to pursue.

2. Go to Find and Compare Materials and select your category
The EC3 has a list of pages for users to explore. For the purposes of cove.tool you only need to use the Find & Compare Materials tab. If you would like to learn more about the other pages of the EC3 platform, the Carbon Leadership Forum along with Sustainable Minds YouTube Page has published a video workshop which you can see here (the tool demonstration starts at time 36:38). Under the Find and Compare Materials Tab, 9 building product categories will be listed below. Select the Category which would encompass the building product you are searching for.

3. Search for building products by adding filters
Each category will open to a page where you can add filters to narrow your search (see image above). Also, be aware that the EC3 is a new platform (released Nov.2019) and its initial database only contains established products with EPD certificates. Therefore users who are searching for a certain product, from a certain manufacturer/region/ property, may not see it listed in the EC3 Database. Cove.tool recommends that new users get familiar with EC3 tool and the available products by starting with the geographic and/or product description filters to search the product library. As EPDs and the EC3 continues to grow in demand, the archive will continue to expand. Users can also start encouraging their manufacturers to supply their product list with embodied carbon metrics to the EC3 to expedite the growth of the database. Below is the number of products contained as of March 3, 2020; note that some categories are far more extensive than others, so be prepared to use other research methods to find embodied carbon values.

4. Select the products you would like to evaluate
Once the users have located a building product they would like to evaluate, the kgCO2e value will be listed in the final column of each product row. Copy and paste this value to the cove.tool kgCO2e input. If no products were found that meet the user's requirements we recommend searching for the value via the manufacturer's website.

5. Save the new inputs and OPTIMIZE
After collecting the embodied carbon inputs from the EC3 Tool, paste them into the Changes Options Page. When you have outfitted your building options with Embodied Carbon values, save the changes, and click the optimize button.


  1. Does cove.tool have all North American EPD's loaded into the database?

    cove.tool utilizes Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) from the EC3 database. However, if Cove.tool lacks EPDs from EC3 or their associated manufacturers, the EPD Library might appear empty. In these instances, users have the option to create custom EPDs within the 'Project EPD Library' tab.

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