The majority of a building’s carbon emissions happen before it’s even opened.
By Lloyd Alter, Updated February 05, 2021
The clever frontispiece (shown to the left) of the report “The Climate Footprint of Construction” says it all: above the line is the finished building, while below the line are the power plants, freighters, transport trucks, cranes, factories, and mines that make all the stuff that goes into a building. All of those industries and processes emit carbon dioxide and equivalent gases, and added together are known as embodied carbon. It’s unseen and has been mostly ignored, but according to the report’s authors, the Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN), can total more than 75% of a building’s lifetime carbon emissions.
By Lloyd Alter Published January 11, 2021
Designing to the Passive House standard of energy efficiency and airtightness is hard. Designing social housing on a tight budget to the Passive House standard is incredibly hard. That’s why the work of Emma Cubitt and Invizij Architects is so interesting and important.
“When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. And that one sank into the swamp. So, I built a third. That burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that’s what you’re going to get, son, the strongest castle in all of England.”
King of Swamp Castle, Monthy Python’s Holy Grail
This guide will show architects and other building designers how to effectively reduce the embodied carbon of a construction project. Avoid building castles on a swamp and follow these design commandments to achieve substantial and cost-effective emissions reductions, and learn how to achieve low carbon design in your projects.
MY NAME IS CHRIS MAGWOOD. I’M OBSESSED WITH MAKING BETTER BUILDINGS FOR PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. ZERO NET ENERGY, ZERO CARBON, ZERO TOXIN, ZERO WASTE BUILDINGS.
Buildings can play a key role in reversing climate change. We can do this now.
Melinda Zytaruk, CAM member and community power expert, chats with Mike Schreiner about how we can Build Back Greener and create new opportunities for women in trades.
What is up-front embodied carbon and what impact does it have on climate change? What’s the carbon footprint of the materials for your next building project?
The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute is a membership-based non-profit research collaborative bringing life cycle assessment (LCA) to the construction sector.
40% Permit fee reduction for new houses that meet a low carbon footprint
80% Permit fee reduction for new houses that meet a low carbon footprint and
near net zero energy consumption
For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.