The carbon footprint of the design and construction industry reaches far beyond the boundaries of a single building or site. Due to various processes, ranging from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and installation of the construction materials, the impact of a single project includes both embodied carbon within the built environment and operational carbon generated throughout the life cycle of the structure. Embodied carbon is defined as the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted during the full life cycle of a product from extraction (cradle) to the use and disposal phases (grave).
The 2015 edition of the National Building Code of Canada (NBC) permits mixed-type occupancies on the first two storeys of wood buildings. Two facilities in British Columbia, both with primary retail occupancies, employ several mass wood products to achieve very different effects.
The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College in Hamilton is the first to achieve both the Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) Standard and Performance certifications by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). Photo courtesy CaGBC
Sustainable structures must balance the environmental footprint, service life, social aspects, and economic factors. As modern society shifts to a circular, carbon-neutral built environment, concrete continues to deliver ‘best-in-class’ performance as a building material.