“Green” measures nothing. Which is greener: a building that saves water or a building that uses certified carpet? There is no obvious answer to this question - this is why trying to quantify “green” is biased and leads nowhere. Using carbon as a metric, on the other hand, makes sense. This is something you can accurately measure and therefore reduce. Going “low-carbon” not only contributes to fighting climate change but also totally redefines construction (choice of materials, energy sources, etc.).
This is why shapedearth.com, the first free online calculator for assessing the whole life embodied carbon of building projects, is such a useful tool.
Architects and designers often face these questions: what material — concrete, steel, wood, etc. — is the most “climate-friendly” for your project? Could transporting materials by rail instead of truck help reduce your emissions? Shapedearth answers these questions, making carbon accounting accessible not just for GHG experts, but for everybody working on a construction project: developers, designers, contractors, etc. (but don’t worry, it’s still in line with ISO14044 and GHG accounting “best practices”).
Shapedearth includes a database filled with hundreds of construction materials. You choose the ones you want on your project, assemble them in the calculator, and visualize in real-time what your carbon footprint is. When this is done, Shapedearth gives you the possibility to disclose the emissions of your building projects online. Sharing project info with your peers for benchmarking purposes can inspire other builders and is a great way for you to get recognition for your efforts in reducing your carbon footprint.