In almost all areas of human activity, including architecture, we are now searching for means to achieve carbon neutrality. Cutting the so-called operational greenhouse gas emissions by lowering a building’s energy demands and using renewable energy sources is definitely a good course of action. Embodied emissions, meaning those associated with building materials, pose a new challenge entirely. Hardly negligible—material emissions could contribute significantly to our remaining carbon budget, according to estimated future construction volumes. We must cultivate new and promising technology, but we can’t depend on it and idly wait for it to save the day. So where do we start?
By engaging ourselves in promoting practices that make sense today, because buildings that are being designed now may well be here in a hundred years’ time. Let us be guided by two complementary movements. With biotechnology—notably annual crop based building materials often have properties that surpass those of conventional materials—we could transform buildings from carbon sources to carbon sinks. Circular architecture also offers a very meaningful perspective for future development. Let’s change architecture and turn a problem into a solution.
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