Could We Control Embodied Carbon in Buildings?
There's an interesting proposal to introduce an embodied carbon bill to Parliament.
Covered by the Architects' Journal, the private member's bill aims to control the amount of embodied carbon in any new build.
It is calculated that it takes 60 years before the embodied carbon of a new structure is neutralised, and all too often, there is also the wasted carbon of the original buildings which are demolished. Add the fashion for building tall, which requires a lot of steel and concrete, and the requirement for power to run lifts, pump water etc, and much new build is very climate unfriendly.
Because those lifts plus space for workings, plus wheelchair lobbies all take up a lot of space, building taller often doesn't provide significantly more usable floor space. A plan by Islington to build blocks of 8, 9 and 15 storeys in Archway, 50% of small units which they hope to sell, could provide all the social housing units plus a new library and GP practice in street facing properties of just four storeys. The cost would also be around one third - all that concrete and steel is very expensive.
Why would a local authority persist with such a climate unfriendly approach? They seem to have been blinded by the 'market' stick telling them that they can make money by selling. (Seems unlikely given the oversupply of small flats already and the fact that those who might afford them want space for working from home, especially as they are still struggling to sell the flats they built on the edge of Clerkenwell.)
LB Islington meanwhile claims the buildings would be zero carbon - happily ignoring all of that embodied energy.