Rethinking Carbon: its not the enemy

William McDonough proposes a new thinking and new language for the manner in which we approach our relationship with carbon. His article in Nature makes for essential reading. 

Building on carbon thinking in FutuREstorative, ConstructCO2 and Cost Restore, I have been advocating for a rethinking of carbon, particularly in the construction phase of projects. I have used the two following slides in just about every presentation I have made this year, under the banner of #ImagineBetter, whether it be to the excellent Specifi series of events, COST Restore dissemination presentations, most recently in Malaga (RESTORE Training School), Eindhoven (Dutch Design Week) and Vilnius (Lithuanian GBC Conference)

Within design, construction and building operation the concepts of durable carbon and living carbon are not on our carbon agenda.

In addition to reducing fugitive carbon, we need to turn our attention to the value of construction we are achieving through units of carbon emitted, we can see this as Construction Carbon Productivity.

Yet, even if we were to remove all carbon from buildings construction and in use, we would not make any significant contribution to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5 degC target. We need to include Durable and Living Carbon within our carbon thinking.

Indeed as the recent IPCC October 2018 Report suggests, we need billions of trees to assist in our carbon reduction targets. And it strikes me, as the World GBC report advocates, we have thousands of green buildings – lets roll that up to billions – to all existing and new buildings, where buildings can function like trees in respect of carbon, energy and water for that matter.

A New Language

Source: Carbon is not the Enemy. in Nature November 2016
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