The window for solving climate change is narrowing; any solution must include embodied carbon. The Sixth Assessment Report published by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) concludes that the world can emit just 500 gigatonnes more of carbon dioxide, starting in January 2020, if we want a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees. In 2021 alone, the world emitted about 36.3 gigatonnes of carbon, the highest amount ever recorded. We’re on track to blow through our carbon budget in the next several years. To quote the IPCC directly: “The choices and actions implemented in this decade will have impacts now and for thousands of years (high confidence).”
greenhouse gas emissions: The Latest Architecture and News
Refurbishment and adaptive reuse have been at the forefront of architectural discourse in recent years. This demonstrates that the profession is becoming increasingly aware of its impact on the environment and the opportunities presented by reusing what has already been built. Architecture 2030 has recently launched CARE, or Carbon Avoided Retrofit Estimator, a new digital tool that enables designers, owners, and communities to quantify the carbon benefits of adaptive reuse. By entering a streamlined set of project information, such as energy targets and potential building interventions, users can quickly estimate both operational carbon emissions generated by the use of the building and embodied carbon emissions, which are tied to the building materials employed.
A 2022 United Nations report claims that the negative impacts of the climate crisis are mounting much faster than scientists predicted less than a decade ago. Rising greenhouse-gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of many communities to adapt, and the consequences will continue to hit the world’s most vulnerable populations. As climate scientist Maarten van Aalst suggests, “Any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” The data is clear: to protect our planet, we need to prevent a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures this century. To do so, the world must achieve a 45% reduction in global carbon emissions from 2010 levels to 2030, to then reach a net-zero state by 2050. It is evident, however, that we are on track to miss this goal by a substantial amount. The clock is ticking, and every industry should act fast (and drastically) to even dream of greener cities.
Boston is the latest city to announce a city-wide plan that, if passed, would eliminate the use of fossil fuels in new constructions and major renovation projects. This measure expands upon the commitment to enact climate action and make Boston a Green New Deal city. Other US cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, and Berkeley have all imposed similar measures in recent years. Seven European cities - Bilbao, Bratislava, Dublin, Munich, Rotterdam, Vienna, and Winterthur - have also developed a project to phase out fossil fuel from urban heating and cooling.
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
Buildings contribute nearly 40% of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, so the push is on to “get to zero” on many fronts. What happens when ambitious goals like zero energy meet a conventional building industry that’s structured on repetition and cost, in a market that struggles to keep up with massive demand? This is often—too often—our challenge.
The 20th century was an era of unbelievable change, with more revolutionary ideas and scientific developments than perhaps any era before it. But among the many developments in the material sciences, one stands as perhaps the most revolutionary: plastics. An experimental group of materials at the turn of the century, artificial plastics are so ubiquitous now that it's almost impossible to imagine life without them.
However, in the 21st century plastics have gained a bad reputation; commonly produced from oil, plastics are a non-renewable resource and, after spending decades or even centuries polluting our environment, most plastics will eventually degrade to release their carbon into the atmosphere. Recycling plastic will go some way to slow this problem, but with so many modern products relying on plastic - and our tendency toward increasing consumption showing no signs of slowing - recycling can only do so much.
But what if there was a way to use plastics to actually reverse the release of greenhouse gases? That's exactly what Newlight Technologies is attempting to do with their carbon-negative plastic, AirCarbon.
Which cities are embracing the green revolution? This infographic compares the efforts of six leading cities - New York, Vancouver, Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam and Stockholm - in the race to drastically reduce global C02 emissions. Based predominantly on 2009 statistics, Stockholm seems to be leading the way in carbon reduction. Continue reading after the break to see who claims the blue ribbon for renewable energy, efficient water consumption and rigorous recycling.
Enthusiasm for water and energy data collection for commercial and residential buildings has been growing strong across the U.S. in major cities such as Austin, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. It's no surprise to learn that Earth-friendly Seattle is ahead of the game when it comes to tracking its buildings; reports show that the city is receiving data for a whopping 87% of its commercial and multi-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, which totals to 1,160 individual properties covering over 200 million square feet of the city.