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How Do You Make A Zero Carbon Building?

What is Net Zero Carbon?


To put it plainly, Net Zero Carbon ensures that global warming does not intensify overall.


In detail, this implies that the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a project from all sources amount to zero or less. Those sources include the following:


  • Life-cycle impacts of operational energy and water

  • Construction life-cycle consequences, including the extraction of materials, production, transport to the site, installation and waste, repair, replacement, refurbishment, and end-of-life processing

  • Benefits (avoided impacts from) energy exported from the project to other users

  • Benefits (impacts prevented from) the reuse of products following decommissioning of the project

  • Benefit from permanently sequestered carbon (if any)


That’s it.


Why Net Zero Carbon matter?

Commercially speaking, since leading building consumers and cities call for it, net-zero carbon matters. To respond to market demands, you do not have to believe in global warming or that it is significant. The Advancing Net Zero Pledge of the World Green Building Council has a number of signatories to lead long-term real estate developers from whole nations to cities. In order to preserve their credentials as responsible organizations, many more investors who do not go all the way to net-zero are interested in applying some of the best practices.


Why Net Zero is especially important for the construction industry is easy since some 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions are accounted for by buildings and construction.


Impact of Decarbonisation of Energy Grids

Operational energy has been the primary source of life-cycle carbon emissions since fossil fuels were discovered. Energy policy is changing the game now. Energy grid decarbonization makes material life-cycle affects the primary source of life-cycle pollution for a building whose life period is half a century or more.


The flip side of this is that you have to export enough of it to offset your emissions until your grid to which you export has reached zero remissions to be able to balance your emissions out if you plan to achieve your net zero-carbon project by exporting energy. It won't offset any emissions by exporting zero-carbon energy to a zero-carbon grid, right? This makes carbon materials even more important, as it is becoming more difficult to offset them by exporting energy.


7 Design Strategies to Achieving Net Zero Carbon


First, reduce emissions from your project as far as practicable by 


  • Decreasing virgin materials demand

  • Decreasing fossil energy demand

  • Decreasing need for material replacements during building life-cycle


Then, restore climate balance to achieve net-zero carbon by


  • Repurposing existing buildings and materials

  • Making your own materials and buildings repurposable

  • Replacing fossil energy elsewhere

  • Sequestering (biogenic) carbon


Some climate benefits often derive from the general use of materials at the end of life and, in the case of cement materials, from their carbonization before and after the lifetime of construction.

Are You Looking for an Architecture Firm Specializing in Zero-Net Energy Building Envelope Designs?

Ecobuild Architects provides exceptional design and construction administration services for residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects throughout California with an eye towards sustainable/ high-performance building solutions. We are experts in suggesting Cost-Effective/ Sustainable Solutions for any size project. If you are searching for an architect that specializes in Zero-Net Energy Building Envelope Design, Water Reuse, Healthy Indoor Air Quality, & Fire Resilient/ New Home Construction Practices, look no further than Ecobuild Architects in Oakland, California. Contact us today for your free consultation!

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