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Carbon Neutral: The Latest Architecture and News

What Can We Learn About Zero Carbon From Lelé’s Work?

The Zero Carbon policy is intended to create a kind of ecological balance to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies report that the construction sector is one of the main responsible for the unbalance in which we find ourselves today, after all, it consumes natural resources on a gigantic scale and still builds buildings that do not collaborate with the maintenance of the environment. Therefore, searching for paths towards a carbon neutral architecture has become fundamental and one of them is learning from past masters, such as the Brazilian architect João Filgueiras Lima, known as Lelé.

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Can Exterior Green Walls Contribute to a Carbon Neutral Architecture?

London's Largest "Living Wall" / Gary Grant. Image Courtesy of Green Roof Consultancy and Treebox
London's Largest "Living Wall" / Gary Grant. Image Courtesy of Green Roof Consultancy and Treebox

A carbon neutral building is achieved when the amount of CO2 emissions is balanced by climate-positive initiatives so that the net carbon footprint over time is zero. Considering their unmatched ability to absorb CO2, planting trees is often viewed as the best carbon offsetting solution. But as cities become denser and the amount of available horizontal space for green areas drastically reduces, architects have been forced to explore other approaches. Therefore, to address these climatic challenges and connect people to nature, exterior green walls have become a rising trend in increasingly vertical cities. Even if there is research to claim that these can positively impact the environment, many question if they can actually contribute to a carbon neutral architecture. Although the answer may be quite complex, there seems to be a consensus: green walls can be effective, but only through good design.

Durability and Sustainability Can Be Synonymous: The Example of Bricks

It is crucial to consider the future environmental impact of everything we create. Climate change remains high on the global agenda, and every industry must take part in the goal of reaching Net Zero. One of the more challenging industries concerns construction, which plays a vital role in the process of decarbonization and is constantly encountered with challenges to become greener. Therefore, it demands innovative techniques and development of data to find new and sustainable processes. One solution is to introduce and design both cleaner and more efficient materials. Bricks are a good example, as they can be used in building constructions to ensure a circular process and minimize carbon emissions, being an extremely durable material that can be produced with more sustainable techniques.

Arup Designs Carbon Neutral Tower in Hong Kong

Arup reveals the competition-winning design for a 230m tall net-zero commercial tower in Hong Kong that embodies the city's aspirations to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Taikoo Green Ribbon blends technology and nature to create an urban ecosystem sustaining a new generation of workplaces. Featuring a façade of curved PVs, hanging gardens, algae walls and various renewable energy sources, the project is a high-performance building slated to achieve carbon neutrality in less than a decade after construction.

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“Soft Infrastructure” Is Crucial for a Post-Carbon World

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

On a recent day in Santa Monica, California, visitors sat in the shaded courtyard outside City Hall East waiting for appointments. One of them ate a slice of the orange she’d picked from the tree above her and contemplated the paintings, photographs, and assemblages on the other side of the glass. The exhibit, Lives that Bind, featured local artists’ expressions of erasure and underrepresentation in Santa Monica’s past. It’s part of an effort by the city government to use the new soon-to-be certified Living Building (designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners) as a catalyst for building a community that is environmentally, socially, and economically self-sustaining.

Heatherwick Studio Wins Competition to Design Innovative Office Building in Madrid

Heatherwick Studio has been selected to design an office building in Madrid for the Spanish department store chain El Corte Ingles. The studio's first project to be built in Spain, Castellana 69 embodies a comprehensive sustainability strategy while also promoting a new vision of the office space. Developed together with local practices CLK architects and BAC Engineering Consultancy Group, Castellana 69 features a green inner courtyard, taking advantage of a strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Can Architecture Firms Become Truly Carbon Neutral?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Martin C. Pedersen talks with Ron Rochon, managing partner at Miller Hull, about Carbon and the role of architectural firms in eliminating emissions. Discussing the EMissions Zero initiative, the current shortcomings of carbon offsets, and the way forward, the piece also questions the possibility of setting goals with the absence of an internationally, agreed-upon carbon cap.

When It Comes to Climate Crisis, Traditional Practice Is Broken

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "When It Comes to Climate Change, Traditional Practice Is Broken."

Sustainable design in the United States is for many a sort of Rorschach test. The construction industry is either making steady progress toward the ultimate goal of a carbon-free building sector, or it’s moving entirely too slowly, missing key targets as the ecological clock keeps ticking. The perplexing truth to all of this is: both are ostensibly true. In recent decades the industry has become significantly more energy efficient. We’ve added building stock but flattened the energy curve. The cost of renewables continues to drop. But way more is required, much more quickly. At the same time, huge hurdles remain. Without a renewable grid and stringent energy codes, it’s hard to see how we can fully decarbonize the building sector in even 20 years, let alone at the timeline suggested by increasingly worried climate scientists. It’s the classic good news/bad news scenario (or vice-versa, depending on your mood).

3XN Designs Denmark’s First Climate-Positive Hotel on the Island of Bornholm

3XN/GXN have revealed their design for a new CO2 neutral and climate positive addition to the Hotel Green Solution House (Hotel GSH), in Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm. Scheduled for 2021, the new wing including 24 rooms, a conference room, and a roof spa, is expected to provide a positive climate footprint when built, a novelty in Danish commercial buildings.

Boston's Largest Carbon-Neutral Building Breaks Ground

KPMB Architects and Suffolk recently broke ground on Boston University’s new Center for Computing and Data Sciences. The Center aims to be a striking new addition to Boston University’s central campus and its first new major teaching center in a half-century. As the tallest building at Boston University, the 19-story, 350,000-square-foot structure will bring the institution’s mathematics, statistics and computer science departments under one roof.

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Helsinki Energy Company to Go Entirely Energy Neutral

In the quest for carbon neutrality, the City of Helsinki in Finland announced its action plans to minimize greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2035. The city’s fully owned energy company, Helen Ltd, a producer of district heating, power, and district cooling, aims to augment this policy by converting its largely coal and natural gas energy production processes to climate-neutral energy production, thereby eliminating carbon dioxide emissions fully by 2050.