10 Best Low Budget Home Decorating Ideas

Embodied carbon and energy impacts.

I have come to call this criterion the “carbon elephant in the room. ? Long disregarded as an important consideration in green building, the amount of embodied carbon in building materials is a formidable contributor to climate change; reducing embodied carbon is imperative if we are to get global greenhouse gas emissions under control. Embodied carbon is an area in which it is relatively easy to make a meaningful contribution on the scale of an individual building project, and collectively the building industry could likewise make an important global contribution by focusing on low-carbon and carbon-sequestering materials.

Throughout this blog, the term “carbon” is used to indicate greenhouse gas emissions, but the scope of consideration includes all gasses that contribute to climate change. In the scientific and industry literature, the common measurement is CO2e, which expresses the total climate change potential of emissions as a carbon dioxide equivalent.

Important questions to ask include:

What carbon emissions are associated with harvesting?

What are the types and quantities of energy/ fuel being used and the related emissions intensity?

Are there non-fuel-related carbon emissions associated with the harvesting process? This could include intentional emissions such as methane venting, or unintentional emissions like the decomposition of forestry waste or releases from soil erosion.

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What carbon emissions are associated with manufacturing?

What are the types and quantities of energy/ fuel being used and the related emissions intensity?

What emissions are generated during manufacturing from non-fuel sources? This includes emissions resulting from chemical changes/ processes and by-products. For example, in the manufacturing of cement, carbon dioxide in the limestone is driven into the atmosphere, contributing up to 5-7% of the world’s CO2 emissions. 5

What carbon emissions are associated with transportation?

Are transportation emissions being counted in the harvesting and manufacturing accounting?

What emissions are associated with the mode(s) of transportation delivering the material from manufacturer to building site?

Is carbon being sequestered in materials?

What is the carbon content of the material itself? Plant-based materials (wood, bamboo, cotton, straw, hemp, ) contain a significant amount of carbon (35-60% by weight) that has been removed from the atmosphere during the growth cycle.

Does the carbon content in the material offset the carbon emissions released during harvesting/manufacturing.

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