Tennent

Brown

Architects

Habits

form

Habitats

Studio News

Carbon Blog Series #20

07.07.22

Buildings

50% of the world's population live in cities, and 1.5million new residents are added weekly to the global urban population.

To accomodate this unprecedented growth, it is estimated that 2.5 trillion square feet (232 billion square metres) of new and renovated buildings will need to be constructed. This is twice the existing global building stock, tantamount to building one New York City every thirty days for the next 40 years.

In 2021, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory calculated that it would cost approximately one dollar per person per day to completely rid the U.S. economy of fossil fuels and operate it on renewable energy.

Companies like BlocPower, located in New York, go after midsized buildings and apartments in low-income neighborhoods... generally older structures that are energy hogs burning large amounts of natural gas. Replacing gas boilers with heatpumps, the company is paid back by savings from the residents' utility bill. If the co-op building owner chooses to purchase renewable power, it becomes a zero-carbon building within months, at no cost to the owners.

Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the banking industry has loaned and invested more than $3.8 trillion in the oil and gas industry, more than enough money to retrofit every building in America to be a zero-waste structure.

Carbon Architecture

Instead of building with rocks (steel and cement), it makes buildings out of fiber. It employs plant materials that draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in order to transform the building industry from a major driver of climate change into a carbon sink.

The goal is for buildings to capture and hold more carbon per acre than does a primary forest. Essentially, it is a transfer of carbon-sequestering materials into the built environment.

Some examples of successful carbon architecture:

Carbon12

Mjøstårnet

The Brock Commons

HoHo Wien

These mass timber buildings have another advantage: they weigh 80 percent less than steel-and-concrete construction. Ninety percent of the weight, and greenhouse gas emissions are from the steel and concrete components of the building.

When the demand for timber threatens to have a damaging impact on intact forest systems, there is a substitute for wood that is even stronger: bamboo.

Bamboo sequesters carbon far more quickly than fast growing trees... bamboo does not die when cut, meaning you can harvest the material from the culms indefinitely for decades.

 

Continue reading more here: https://regeneration.org/solutions