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What is the MEP 2040 Challenge?

The 4 steps you must take to join the MEP 2040 Commitment.  

by | Jan 30, 2024

The MEP 2040 Mission: MEP 2040 is a movement to radically reduce total carbon emissions associated with building systems through collective action.

The MEP 2040 Challenge — What is it all about?

Life Cycle Assessment Flywheel

Buildings are the largest global contributor of carbon emissions, contributing 57% of total emissions. The architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry should therefore be at the forefront of the movement to address climate change, and, recognizing the industry’s enormous potential for positive impact, the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) has issued a call for action — the MEP 2040 Challenge. 

This challenge is a call to building systems designers to transform mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems within the AEC sector, setting a bold target of net-zero carbon by 2040. At its core, the challenge encapsulates a mission: All systems engineers shall advocate for and achieve net zero carbon in their projects: operational carbon by 2030 and embodied carbon by 2040. While MEP systems designers have been optimizing for operational carbon for some time, the inclusion of embodied carbon in that focus is the next frontier in reducing total carbon emissions associated with the built environment.

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How does the MEP 2040 Challenge work?

The MEP 2040 Challenge is your chance to show that you intend to meet this challenge, and is comprised of four action points.

 

1. Establish a company plan

2. Request low-GWP refrigerants

3. Request EPDs

4. Participate in Forums

Why should you sign the MEP 2040 Commitment?

Addressing Carbon Emissions at the Source:

Buildings are currently responsible for 57% of global energy-related carbon emissions. The AEC industry is beginning to make progress addressing the embodied carbon found in the materials used to build the structure and envelope of buildings. However, the industry has often overlooked the embodied carbon of MEP systems. The MEP 2040 Challenge addresses this crucial area of carbon reduction head-on, advocating for holistic life-cycle assessments (LCAs) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to quantify and mitigate the embodied carbon of MEP materials and equipment.

Encouraging Transparency:

One of the challenge’s key components is the request for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for MEP system components. This call for transparency in environmental impact data encourages manufacturers to disclose the environmental footprint of their products, enabling informed and sustainable choices. Right now there is a large gap of EPD data missing from MEP manufacturers — by choosing to supply EPDs you are helping to close that gap and showing leadership in the industry.

Accelerating the Transformation:

By setting the bold target of achieving net-zero operational carbon by 2030 and embodied carbon by 2040, the MEP 2040 Challenge accelerates the transformation of the AEC industry towards sustainability. It creates a sense of urgency, pushing firms to embrace innovative solutions, technologies, and practices that minimize their carbon footprint.

Driving Industry Collaboration:

The challenge fosters collaboration between MEP design firms and systems manufacturers. By creating a collective commitment, the industry can collaborate to share knowledge, best practices, and insights, creating a robust network of professionals dedicated to sustainable MEP systems. This collaboration, along with the supply chain insights gained through the use of EPDs, has the potential to drive down costs while increasing sustainability.

Contributing to Global Carbon Reduction:

The AEC industry is a global player, and its commitment to the MEP 2040 Challenge contributes to broader efforts to combat climate change. By leading the charge in reducing carbon emissions, the industry sets an example for other sectors and nations to follow.

How One Click LCA can help

One Click LCA’s MEP Carbon Tool is a powerful software tool that can assist MEP companies in achieving their MEP 2040 Challenge commitments. Here’s how it can help you achieve the four steps of the MEP Challenge.

1. Establish a company plan to reduce operational and embodied carbon

One-Click LCA can help MEP companies create and implement a comprehensive sustainability plan by offering essential features like:

MEP product life cycle assessment: LCA is the industry’s go-to method for evaluating ecological impacts across a product’s life cycle. Manufacturers typically provide EPDs for the first three phases (A1 to A3) — raw material extraction, transportation to the manufacturing site, and actual production. One Click LCA’s life cycle assessment software helps assess the embodied carbon in MEP systems to identify areas for improvement.

While an LCA typically covers enclosures, foundations, and structures, it’s vital that we expand our focus to include MEP systems. There is currently a gap in data due to the lack of EPDs from MEP manufacturers, but we can still evaluate low-global warming potential refrigerants and equipment routing impacts (pipes, ducts, conduit, cable tray) as we request EPDs to close that gap.

Monitoring and reporting: One-Click LCA allows firms to continuously monitor and report on the environmental impact of their projects. It generates automated reports that measure and track progress towards the net zero carbon target by 2040.

Scenario analysis: The software enables companies to compare different design options and materials to identify the most sustainable choices. It also helps gain valuable insight to supply chain data and find new, more efficient ways of improving products.

 

2. Request Low-GWP refrigerants

Refrigerant impact analysis: The software can assess and compare the environmental impact of different refrigerants in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the selection of the most eco-friendly options.

Design optimization: It can help MEP companies optimize their system designs to reduce or eliminate the use of high-GWP refrigerants, in alignment with the MEP 2040 Challenge’s goals.

 

3. Request EPDs

EPD generation: One Click LCA’s EPD generator can create EPDs for MEP system components, simplifying the process of requesting and providing this essential information in project documentation. You can automate and scale the production of EPDs with our technology, at reduced cost compared to traditional EPD generation practice.

One Click LCA also assists in compiling the necessary documentation, making it easier to demonstrate compliance with sustainability requirements.

 

4. Participate in forums

Data sharing & knowledge contribution: One-Click LCA can support active participation in these forums by providing valuable insights, data, and knowledge sharing, thus contributing to the collective effort of the MEP 2040 Challenge. Companies can use the software to share data and results related to their sustainability efforts during forum discussions, contributing to the growing knowledge pool and fostering collaboration.

The MEP 2040 Challenge, a vital component of the global effort to combat climate change, is a rallying cry to the AEC industry.

By signing this challenge and leveraging the power of One Click LCA, firms can not only meet their commitments but also secure their place as industry leaders in sustainability. Together, we can build a more sustainable, resilient, and carbon-neutral future for generations to come. Join the movement and embrace the future of sustainable MEP systems.

 

Ready to decarbonize your MEP? Talk to one of our carbon experts to learn how you can meet the MEP 2040 Challenge.

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