CLF
  September 2021

The Enclosure Opportunity

by Andrew Himes, Director of Collective Impact, Carbon Leadership Forum

I learned in my architectural history class that for much of human history the facade of a building and its structure were pretty much the same thing. Whether the building was composed of wattle, brick, timber, or marble, what it looked like pretty much told you what made it stand up. When the Emperor Augustus reputedly claimed, “I found Rome built of bricks; I leave her clothed in marble,” he was referring to both structure and facade. With the introduction of steel and concrete structures in the early 20th century, the modern curtain wall could be invented both to enhance a building’s appearance and meet its need for energy efficiency.

Today, building facades are essential components of the deeply integrated systems and structures of buildings, and facade designers are learning that decarbonizing buildings requires attention to both operational carbon and embodied carbon. As Vaclav Hasik says in this month’s CLF newsletter, “The use of precast concrete, concrete masonry units, aluminum and metal cladding, foam insulations, and other cladding materials can contribute to a building’s embodied carbon due to energy-intensive manufacturing processes, direct emissions from chemical processes, or direct releases of substances such as blowing agents.”

This September, the CLF was invited to be guest editor of SKINS, the monthly newsletter of the Facade Tectonics Institute (FTI). In the upcoming issue of SKINS, we offer Vaclav’s article on using the EC3 tool to calculate the carbon footprint of facade materials, link to Laura Karnath’s excellent article on embodied carbon in facades, and highlight Payette’s Kaleidoscope tool for estimating embodied carbon in building envelopes and flooring systems. We encourage facade designers to subscribe to SKINS to read FTI's entire newsletter, and then get with the EC3 tool to put what you learn into practice!

Magnussen Klemencic Associates  

CLF

The Spheres at Amazon’s urban corporate headquarters are a beautiful structure with high system repetition; a reduced waste stream within the fabrication process; and form, function, and efficiency on display throughout the exposed building frame.

"At MKA, we constantly explore and advance new approaches to the engineering challenges within every project, enabling environmentally mindful features within these designs. We pay attention to how materials are made and from where they come, as the latter can often have a greater carbon impact on a new building’s carbon footprint than the choice of material itself..."

Engineering an Environmental Solution

Authors
Don Davies, PE, SE, President, Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA)
Dimple Ji, Design Engineer, MKA
Tim Lewis, PE, LEED AP, Design Engineer, MKA

Finding creative and innovative structural engineering solutions has proved to be one of the most rewarding aspects of our careers.  But perhaps the biggest challenge of our generation remains unresolved—reducing the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry’s collective impact on the environment.  

While floorspace in buildings is estimated to double in the next 40 years, today our industry is responsible for nearly 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  It is essential that engineers, property owners, designers, and contractors find business strategies that reduce carbon emissions and limit climate change.

Read the Full Story!
Introducing...  
CLF CLF
“Out of all the positive changes I’ve seen in the past decade one thing has held true – the biggest ones required a big tent. I’ve learned the importance of not just loving the planet, but loving those who are fighting alongside you, and especially those who aren’t.”

by Brad Benke

People say that if you want to build a better future for our planet, it has to come from a place of love. I like to think I’ve always followed this advice, but to be honest, it’s taken a lot of years, heartaches, and failures for it to really sink in.

I headed West in search of mountains after graduating with an architecture degree from North Dakota State University. I quickly fell in love with ridgelines, rivers, and forests, which, in turn, became my best teachers on the reality and urgency of the climate crisis. It didn’t take long for my love of wild places to raise questions about my profession on multiple ethical levels. Does this product damage the planet? Where did it even come from? Is its manufacturing choking the rivers I love? And a favorite of mine – should this be made at all, and who gets to decide?

Aldo Leoppold had words about this, “Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left.” Even with the best intentions, it is almost impossible to leave no trace and I often felt like I was complicit in the destruction of the very same places I’d go to recharge. I deeply wanted to change that, and fortunately, I found countless mentors who were all asking the same question – How can we do better?

Read More

 

Join Us on October 8th!  

CLF Embodied Carbon Policy Webinar

Oct 8, 2021 09:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Policymakers across the United States introduced embodied carbon policies at an unprecedented rate in the last year. Join the CLF and guest presenters Representative Tracey Bernett (Colorado State), Chris Neidl (Open Air Collective), and Alex Jackson (NRDC) to hear highlights from the recent legislative session and what we can expect to come in the future.

Register for the Webinar

Addressing Climate Change through
Façade Design with the EC3 Tool

 

Functional Aspects of Facades and the Role of Embodied Carbon

by Vaclav Hasik, Data Manager at Building Transparency

Since the beginning of human civilizations, buildings and their facades have had three main functions: shelter from the elements, providing daylight and views, and offering striking aesthetics. Energy efficiency performance is also a key consideration, and the oil crisis of the 1970s helped us accelerate buildings’ operational energy innovation. That momentum has carried over into the current climate crisis as the building industry addresses a relatively new, but equally as important, element in the fight against climate change: embodied carbon – the carbon emissions from product manufacturing, transport, installation, replacement, and end-of-life disposal.

Read the Full Article

This month’s action checklist

Join the online CLF Community – focus groups, information, collaboration, research, resources, exploration, innovation.
Check out News You Can Use with comprehensive coverage of the movement to reduce embodied carbon.
CLF Embodied Carbon Policy Webinar, Register Now, October 8th, 2021

About the Carbon Leadership Forum at the University of Washington

Who We Are

  • The Carbon Leadership Forum accelerates transformation of the building sector to radically reduce the embodied carbon in building materials and construction.
  • We pioneer research, create resources, foster cross-sector collaboration, and incubate member-led initiatives to bring embodied carbon emissions of buildings down to zero.
  • We are architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, building owners, and policymakers who care about the future and take bold steps to eliminate embodied carbon from buildings and infrastructure.

 

www.carbonleadershipforum.org

 

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