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Vectorworks News: Reduce CO2 Emissions on Projects

Carbon emissions from building amount to nearly 40% of all global CO2. Architects can learn how to reduce embodied carbon and operation carbon from two practitioners.


Architects can do a lot more about climate change than the average architectural professional is doing. But often times it is not just a matter of motivation or economics; sometimes, they are unaware of the technologies at their disposal.

How To Reduce CO2 Emissions

A recent Vectorworks blog dives into this topic, featuring two leaders in sustainable architecture—Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, and David Arkin, AIA.

The story of reducing carbon emissions must start with its definitions and then understand the carbon emissions that come from the built environment. A critical point the story makes is that embodied carbon constitutes 11 percent of total global CO2 emissions.

A project by Kipnis Architecture + Planning. Note the solar panels as just one strategy to address climate change and carbon emissions, tapping clean energy from the sun.  (Image: Kipnis Architecture + Planning).

Operations carbon refers to the emissions related to the in-use lifecycle of a building—its operations carbon impact. This is an area where the design side of the AEC industry has played a big role with various adoption of better systems for tighter construction and superior building envelopes. Operations’ carbon amounts to 28 percent of global CO2 emissions.

Architects can attack both sets of CO2 numbers, the combination of which amounts to the single largest CO2 emissions into the climate at 39 percent.

Vectorworks Technologies and Architects

Architects like Kipnis and Arkin are leading the way in the architecture industry by leveraging solutions, materials, and technologies that will lower both types of carbon emissions in the building industry. Arkin has a CEU presentation for Architectural Record magazine, where architects can learn more about what is possible. Here is the link to Arkin’s presentation.

According to the blog post, Kipnis believes attacking embodied carbon is where architects can do some of the most important work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After a building is already constructed, more energy efficient systems can be deployed, lower operational carbon emissions. But architects get only one chance at lowering the embodied carbon number.

To help architects understand where the embodied carbon loads are in construction, Vectorworks has a new Vectorworks Embodied Carbon Calculator. It leverages technology from Preoptima, a company we recently wrote about that received an investment seed round from the Nemetschek Group.

Vectorworks has integrated this technology from Preoptima’s world-first carbon hub for the AEC industry. The tool is a preformatted worksheet (ie, a term that means a spreadsheet-like feature inside Vectorworks) that can calculate embodied carbon emissions based on an architect’s inputs. Here is a link to a post at Vectorworks about that new tool.

Learn More

To read the full blog post at Vectorworks go here.


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