News You Can Use

News You Can Use is a timely digest of webinars, events, recent news, research, resources, and discussion from across the building industry focused on driving the radical reduction of building construction and materials.

Written and updated by @martintorres, edited by Fred Bernstein

Recent News, Research, Resources, and Discussion

Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) news and media coverage.

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub 2020: A Year in Review recaps a successful year of research briefs, topic summaries, and journal papers, along with webinars and presentations available on the CSHubMIT YouTube page. Looking forward, the CSHub will continue to conduct cutting-edge research and to disseminate valuable knowledge. Here are just a few of the many of the resources and reports produced by the MIT CSHub over the last year. CLF Discussion

CarbonCure concrete experts answer your questions about CarbonCure’s compatibility with other materials; about the two methods of carbon reduction (through CO2 mineralization and cementitious optimization); and about using CarbonCure with prescriptive concrete specifications like maximum water/cement ratio and minimum cementitious content. CLF Discussion

Join the CLF discussion on wood procurement challenges! Changing an industry built on delivering a commodity at the lowest possible price will require creative solutions that increase or maintain forest carbon sequestering pools. The big challenges we face include (but are not limited to) defining what improved forest management looks like at different stages; learning how to measure, implement, and support these practices;comparing different certifications (FSC, SFI, PEFC); understanding different ways manufacturers source lumber; properly involving stakeholders from manufacturers to designers to owners; and understanding and summarizing forestry regulations and practices by state/province to inform sourcing. Here are some great resources from the discussion on CLF’s Discourse page:

Several articles in the February 2021 issue of The Structural Engineer, published by IStructE, discuss embodied carbon. Making low-carbon material choices offers advice on selecting the most appropriate materials and structural systems for various situations (hint: there is no silver bullet). How can we reduce the embodied carbon of structural concrete? explores various methods such as improving kiln operations to reduce expenditure of thermal energy during cement production, adding semi-cementitious materials like fly ash or slag to reduce the cement content of concrete, specifying maximum cement content in lieu of performance-based targets that require EPDs, and engaging with the contractor to align concrete strength and curing time more closely with construction needs. Structural fire safety when responding to the climate emergency urges engineers to consider fire resistance needs by maintaining awareness of potential failure modes and expanding knowledge of how and why fire resistance standards are developed. CLF Discussion

Amsterdam’s city government is said to be embracing “doughnut economics”. This theory, first laid out by British economist Kate Rawarth in a 2017 book, argues that a successful society fits human life into a sweet spot between social foundation (what people need to just get by) and environmental ceiling (the maximum the planet can sustain). This is a call for resiliency and circular economy, supporting design for deconstruction and material reuse. CLF Discussion

World Green Building Council launches its 2020 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, discussing current construction activities (global and regional), energy and emissions in the construction sector, impact of COVID-19 on construction, case studies in policy and practice, green building financing, net-zero efforts, the circular economy, key actions aligned with the Global Roadmap (a guideline to policy prioritization for different stakeholders), and a newly developed index that tracks decarbonization in the buildings and construction sector worldwide. CLF Discussion

CLF now has regional hubs in Atlanta, Austin, Australia, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver/Boulder, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, and Yellowstone. Join or start a regional hub now to help expand our network.

Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) Events and Webinars

Wednesday, March 3, 3-4pm EST
The Forest Climate Working Group’s webinars continue with a workshop on Business Leadership in Sustainable Forestry and Carbon. Register

April 20-23
Living Future ‘21. Join revolutionary thinkers to explore innovative sustainability practices and hear from those who are leading the way. Register

Every Wednesday at 7pm EST
Global Passive House Happy Hour. Register

Webinar Recordings

Embodied Carbon 101 (BSA): Basic Literacy, EPDs, Structure, Envelope, MEP, Interiors, Procurement, Carbon Accounting, Certifications + Commitments: Overview and Deeper Dive, Making the Case, Process + Firm Culture. Recordings

CLF Event Information
CLF Webinar Recordings
Global Passive House Happy Hour Presentation Recordings
MIT CSHub Webinar Recordings

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