Soon to be a book (late 2017) and companion video:

The New Carbon Architecture

Building to Cool the Climate

  1. Beyond Zero
    the time value of carbon

  2. Re-Build
    deep green retrofit existing buildings

  3. Build with Wood
    the mass timber structure

  4. Build with Straw
    beyond straw bales

  5. Build with Nature
    fungi, microbes, and other little helpers

  6. Build with Rock
    the reinvention of concrete

  7. Build with Plastic
    out of the oceans and into the walls

  8. Counting Carbon
    measuring emissions and sinks

  9. Places to Intervene in a System
    course adjustments and a to-do list

  10. Build for Life
    a few final thoughts

The Short Story:

The book and video will make two basic points:

  1. The embodied carbon of building materials matters far more than anyone thought until recently (10% of total emissions worldwide).

  2. Thanks to recent innovations with wood and straw structures, and more, the built environment can become a carbon sink, absorbing more than it emits.


"Net Zero" buildings are all the rage in green building, but are not yet the best that we can do for the climate. They don't fully address warming issues because they actually often increase carbon emissions by loading the front end - the embodied carbon attributable to construction and, especially, materials. A truly green or regenerative architecture must account for and work with embodied carbon - not sweep it under the rug as if materials and buildings appeared by magic.

But here's the good news: now, for the first time in history, buildings of every type and size can actually be carbon sinks by using carbon as structure, enclosure, insulation, and more. Wood from sustainably-managed forests and agricultural by-products from farmers will increasingly be available in a variety of products on the shelves of every building supplier. Both concrete and cement will be reinvented as an array of low-carbon, affordable alternatives, and plastic refuse will be cleaned from the oceans and turned into blocks, panels, and insulation. We can soon get beyond "Net Zero" with biomimicry: following nature's clues rather than heating, beating & treating everything with fossil fuel energy. The result will be a cooler climate and just better buildings - safer, lovlier, and healthier. What's not to like?