Without a better understanding of the impact of embodied carbon emissions in building materials, we do not have a full picture of the climate impacts from our built environment. Recognizing this gap, TAF funded YMCA of Greater Toronto to commission a life cycle analyses on two new YMCA community centres and model design cases with different materials (conventional concrete, low-impact concrete, and timber). Timber showed the greatest potential for embodied carbon emission reductions but also commanded price premiums and its widespread adoption required significant changes to Ontario’s design and construction sector. YMCA applied the findings from this work to inform designs for additional community centres. This project served as a catalyst to spark these conversations in the GTHA.