Material Diets for Climate-Neutral Construction

An interesting exploration of the relative contributions of different material types to the carbon footprint of buildings. A full understanding of GHG impact of materials will depend on open source data, transparent reporting, rigorous methodology, scientific analysis underpinning whole building life cycle assessment (WBLCA). Thanks to Mostafa Saad, M.Sc. for this pointer to the excellent study “Material Diets for Climate-Neutral Construction” by Olga Bolotina Olga Beatrice Carcassi, Guillaume Habert, Laura Malighetti, and Francesco Pittau. #embodiedcarbon


I can’t vouch for the science in this study, but if generally accurate, it provides very helpful high level conclusions and graphics that can help architects (and engineers) understand what building components (and materials options) should be addressed first (in order-of-magnitude) to help reduce a building’s GWP over time.

The study’s framing of various materials options (high carbon, low carbon, climate negative) and the impacts of various building types studied (SF House, MF House (duplex etc), Terrrace House (row house), Apartment House (multi-story)) help to broaden and to frame the global warming impacts of various materials and building types. It’s also helpful that it frames the issue in embodied carbon accounting from cradle to grave (and I believe over multiple material changes for items whose life-span is less than the building’s life.)

This seems like a great opportunity for the authors to do a presentation to the CLF and broader community!