The Carbon Cost of Key Materials in Architecture

Around the world today, the “Climate Emergency” continues to embody a renewed worldwide focus on tackling climate change. With 36% of global energy devoted to buildings and 8% of global emissions caused by cement alone, the architectural community is deeply entwined with the flows of materials, energy, and ideas that relate to climate change, both causes and solutions.

With the construction industry dominated by the use of concrete, steel, and timber, any attempt to lower the environmental impact of the built environment on the natural world will involve a revision of both the manufacturing and use of these raw materials. Therefore, we take a closer look at the embedded environmental costs and benefits behind the raw materials that dominate modern architecture. 

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