Carbonbuzz: How to navigate the complex world of carbon accounting

Recent media keeps reminding us that the building industry, like many others, is going net-zero. But what does that really mean? What is the system boundary for net-zero accounting? And are we even clear on what metric to use? Is it energy or carbon? And if it is carbon – or better, carbon dioxide equivalent - is it the carbon produced to operate the building? Or is it also the carbon produced to manufacture and deliver all the materials you need for its construction? And what happens to all these materials if, after 50 years (or 60 years?) you do not need the building anymore?

You might expect an answer to all these questions. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer; there is no right or wrong, black or white. But there is one clear mission (for the most of us): learn how to keep living on our beloved planet without further increasing its temperature. And taking control of the amount of greenhouse gases present in our atmosphere is the way of doing it.

At Transsolar, our discussion of what carbon accounting framework to use is heating up even faster than the Earth! In recent years we focus not only on energy conservation but on carbon emissions, always keeping human comfort and a passive-design-first approach at the center. We learn from peer groups all around the world (such as DGNB in Germany or the CaGBC in North America). But we also feel responsible for sharing our own know-how and holistic thinking skills. We want to give our contribution towards a carbon-free future. And we want to do it not only through our buildings, but by taking a seat at the discussion table.

We recently started a new section in our website which reflects our own intense discussions. It is dedicated to climate change and explains our approach to the complex world of carbon accounting in the building industry. If you want to know more, just check it out!