via Architect
via Architect

According to the U.N. Environment Program, 50 metric gigatons of greenhouse gases are released each year into the atmosphere—and without serious intervention, this number is likely to rise. Given the magnitude of the problem, any solution to society’s accelerating carbon generation is welcomed, including technologies that actively remove carbon dioxide from the air. Widely publicized schemes involve the pumping of carbon into deep cavities below ground or at the bottom of the world’s oceans for long-term sequestration.

However, climate change–aware architects and designers know that the built environment can also play a role in reducing carbon emissions. Wood, for example, is the most familiar biologic carbon vehicle for buildings to embody carbon. For composite building materials, however, the story becomes more complicated.

Carbon sequestration in materials involves varying degrees of processing and chemical conversion. Unlike the geological-scale carbon dioxide–pumping technique, in which the gas is moved to large cavities underground (often in compressed liquid form), product-scale sequestration strategies store carbon as part of a material’s intrinsic composition. To address this, manufacturers have been exploring innovative carbon-management methods for concrete, given that it has the largest carbon footprint of any building material.

Courtesy Solidia Technologies Solidia concrete block
Courtesy Solidia Technologies Solidia concrete block