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  • Writer's pictureTerrell Wong

RETHINKING THE BUILDING STOCK – IT’S A CARBON THING (Carbon Sequestration in Existing Building Sto

Image from : 2017 ,Chris Magwood , How I Got Run Over by the Carbon Elephant…or Buildings as

This chart shows total carbon emissions created when building a 100m2 homes. Amounts of carbon are taken from The ICE2 database and the ECN Phyllis 2 database.

The first bar graph shows code minimum building using common materials: concrete foundation - xps foam insulation –vinyl siding -asphalt shingles

The second graph also shows a code minimum building that uses lower carbon material options: lower carbon concrete – eps foam insulation –wood siding –asphalt shingles

The third graph is the same as the first but to passive house levels of insulation and triple glazed windows

The fourth uses only natural materials and has red list toxic products : earth block foundation-perlite insulation-cellulose-metal roofing

Renovating or building with natural materials sequesters carbon in our very walls. The xps foam built Passive house embodied carbon is the highest by far. Based on total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions it would be better if all buildings were code minimum and built with natural materials –cellulose instead of foam –wood instead of brick or vinyl….than if we made sure every new building met the Passive House standard using high density foam. When the goal is to lower green house gasses -R values are of less importance what the building is made of is the key.

When the grid is dirty operational energy conservation becomes the only factor when playing the low energy game. Consideration of material embodied energy and toxicity gets lost in the never ending energy model tweaking to meeting energy targets. Are we getting those last few kWh at too high a cost environmentally?

#energyretrofittoronto #solargrid #constructionindustry #roofing #rammedearth #strawbale #sustainablehomedesigntoronto #cleanenergygrid #greenarchitecture #climatechange #renewables #sustainabledesign #urbanstrawbale #energyretrofit #carbonsequestration

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