Dami Lee: Buildings are slowly killing us

April 4th, 2023

YouTube architect Dami Lee chats with cove.tool’s Director of Sustainability Nilesh Bansal on how cove.tool bridges a gap in the design phase of construction to help reduce the amount of embodied carbon in a building’s lifecycle.  

Using Michael Graves' Portland Building, a structure that was being considered for demolition but was saved after being deemed a historically significant piece of architecture, Lee and Bansal use cove.tool to map out how the renovation of the Portland Building ended up reducing the potential emission of 700,000 kgCO2.  

When the concept of whether a building should be renovated or completely destroyed to start from scratch, the problem is that designers are not equipped with enough information during the early stages of planning. If evaluated early in the design phase when factors like the massing, framing, foundation, and even the roof are being reviewed, there is an opportunity to reduce approximately 80% of embodied carbon. 

In this case, the renovation of the Portland building would be preserving 100% of the substructure and 75% of the superstructure.  

The building industry accounts for 40% of the entire world's carbon footprint. Embodied carbon, the carbon that is created before and after a building's life cycle, makes up approximately half of the total construction emissions. This accounts for all of the carbon that is emitted from the extraction of raw materials, all transportation, manufacturing, construction of the building, the use and maintenance of the operating building, and then the after–demolition, hauling away of waste materials, and the landfill.   

With the help of cove.tool’s data, more sustainable and efficient decisions can be made and projects can be developed to overall reduce the environmental impact of construction.  

Find out how much embodied carbon you can reduce in your next projects with cove.tool!


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