Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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FangKC
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

Post by FangKC »

Building with timber instead of steel could help pull millions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere

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Currently, cement is the source of 8% of global CO2 emissions; more than jet fuel, which accounted for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions in 2018. If we continue to build with concrete and steel, researchers say, the cumulative emissions from these mineral-based construction materials might account for one-fifth of the global CO2 emissions budget up to 2050—a budget, they stress, we can’t exceed if we want to keep warming below two degrees.

To reach net-zero carbon emissions by midcentury, we need to lower our carbon output and also create carbon sinks to balance the atmosphere and counteract emissions that may be impossible to avoid. “Buildings, which are designed to stay for decades,” researchers write in the paper, “are an overlooked opportunity for a long-term storage of carbon, because most-widely used construction materials such as steel and concrete hardly store any carbon.” The opportunity then lies in timber buildings—mass timber specifically, which refers to the use of large, solid engineered wood panels, often made of smaller boards layered and laminated together, to construct walls, floors, and roofs (and differs from thinner light frame or post-and-beam construction). A five-story residential building made with laminated timber can store up to 180 kilos (nearly 400 pounds) of carbon per square meter—three times more than natural forests with high carbon density.
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https://www.fastcompany.com/90456328/bu ... ontent=rss
dukuboy1
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

Post by dukuboy1 »

Interesting to read, especially the part about them being more efficient than natural forest with high carbon density. However my guess, purely a guess, is that steel and concrete are still more cost effective when it comes to building these size buildings as the preferred materials.

I really like the idea of buildings being able to store carbon, especially if they could store the carbon footprint they create in some way. Also perhaps look at elements that could be added to say concrete to make it more carbon absorbing. Perhaps creating a concrete mixture that provides the same strength and versatility but has more wood or organic based materials within it to help absorb and store carbon. Heck going for a 1% carbon storage to say 5% would be a nice jump
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normalthings
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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dukuboy1 wrote: Tue Apr 20, 2021 10:13 am Interesting to read, especially the part about them being more efficient than natural forest with high carbon density. However my guess, purely a guess, is that steel and concrete are still more cost effective when it comes to building these size buildings as the preferred materials.

I really like the idea of buildings being able to store carbon, especially if they could store the carbon footprint they create in some way. Also perhaps look at elements that could be added to say concrete to make it more carbon absorbing. Perhaps creating a concrete mixture that provides the same strength and versatility but has more wood or organic based materials within it to help absorb and store carbon. Heck going for a 1% carbon storage to say 5% would be a nice jump
CLT is cheaper and faster to install than steel or concrete.

2 main issues
  • temp/humidty needs to be within a certain range before and during installation
  • no one has used it here yet.
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FangKC
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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I've read several articles where they are building with timber in Europe more and more.

Much of the resistance to doing it here has to do with codes. From what I gather, our cities have to rewrite codes to make it possible. The other is lack of experience doing it this way.

There are also other things that cities need to do for climate change. Some of them are simple. Rewrite zoning rules. Reduce house lot sizes on new development. More dense housing options--the missing middle. Accessory units on SFH sites. More mixed purpose projects where people can live and work in close proximity and reduce travel miles, and easy mass transit commuting. Make is easier for homeowners to put solar panels on their property.

Just doing small changes in multiple areas will make a huge difference.
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normalthings
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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FangKC wrote: Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:20 pm I've read several articles where they are building with timber in Europe more and more.

Much of the resistance to doing it here has to do with codes. From what I gather, our cities have to rewrite codes to make it possible. The other is lack of experience doing it this way.

There are also other things that cities need to do for climate change. Some of them are simple. Rewrite zoning rules. Reduce house lot sizes on new development. More dense housing options--the missing middle. Accessory units on SFH sites. More mixed purpose projects where people can live and work in close proximity and reduce travel miles, and easy mass transit commuting. Make is easier for homeowners to put solar panels on their property.

Just doing small changes in multiple areas will make a huge difference.
The 2 main factors I listed are what stopped it's use on a big project here in KC
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

Post by Chris Stritzel »

Cross Laminated Timber is a building material that I have looked at quite a bit and have pushed some developer friends of mine to pursue in future projects. Many of them are taking a look at it. I like CLT because of the speed of construction that comes as a result. It's also lighter, meaning that foundation work wouldn't have to be as robust as a steel or concrete building. Because of the speed of construction (which saves money on labor) and less expensive foundations, the cost of construction a CLT building ends up being cheaper than a steel or concrete counterpart. Of course, not all CLT buildings will have shorter foundations, it all depends on if a parking garage is included.

Cross Laminated Timber also leads to beautiful interiors if done right. The warm color of the wood contrasts with white walls and what not to create a modern interior space. Of course, everyone has their own tastes but looking at images of CLT building interiors, there are great examples of interior design.

In St. Louis, the first CLT building in the state is supposed to be built as a 6-story, 60,000sf office building that is part of the City Foundry Phase 2. The hope by many is that the building is built successfully, which will open the door to additional buildings being built with this material. If successful in St. Louis, there's no reason it wouldn't be in KC since the climate is similar.

Up in Milwaukee, the tallest CLT building in the country is being built in Milwaukee. Plans have it as 18-stories of CLT structure over a 7-story concrete podium. The "Ascent" will be apartments. The diagram below shows what the "Ascent" sturucurtre will look like if no cladding was added. The second image are renderings of the completed building.
Image
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FangKC
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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America’s largest modern timber building pieces together like LEGO

https://inhabitat.com/americas-largest- ... tecture-6/
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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I suspect the apartment boom, particularly large urban apartments that rise to 6 or more floors and are made of wood, is making a significant contribution to the hyper inflation of wood products right now and also to the cost of housing. The high prices of wood is making new housing unaffordable to many, hence the lack of speculative building that adds new stock, and the cost of existing homes is skyrocketing.

The choice of wood for downtown apartments is strictly due to cost; it's not an attempt to be environmentally conscious but it is showing how use of a limited resource over one that is ubiquitously and locally available can have unintended consequences. I wonder, with all the apartment projects on the table in KC, if there will be a switch back to concrete due to the high cost of lumber? Acc/to real estate people I know, home builders are having to adjust new home prices considerably over the time it takes to build the home due to how quickly prices are rising.
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normalthings
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

Post by normalthings »

Highlander wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:43 pm I suspect the apartment boom, particularly large urban apartments that rise to 6 or more floors and are made of wood, is making a significant contribution to the hyper inflation of wood products right now and also to the cost of housing. The high prices of wood is making new housing unaffordable to many, hence the lack of speculative building that adds new stock, and the cost of existing homes is skyrocketing.

The choice of wood for downtown apartments is strictly due to cost; it's not an attempt to be environmentally conscious but it is showing how use of a limited resource over one that is ubiquitously and locally available can have unintended consequences. I wonder, with all the apartment projects on the table in KC, if there will be a switch back to concrete due to the high cost of lumber? Acc/to real estate people I know, home builders are having to adjust new home prices considerably over the time it takes to build the home due to how quickly prices are rising.
Concrete is a limited resource. Trees are renewable. In fact, there are more trees/forest in the US today than there were in 1940. Technologies like CLT increase the eligible trees for construction. As we switch to a more wood based construction industry, we will need to rebuild our harvesting systems.

https://www.treehugger.com/more-trees-t ... ue-4864115

Do I think current proposals have had a material impact? No, we have been a lot of wooden apartments for the past decade or two. I don’t think apartment construction in 2021 is much higher than pre-cover (probably decreased).

Are projects switching to other materials? I know of one big downtown project that switched to concrete and steel due to the recent price spike.
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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I suspect lumber prices will return to normal in maybe 2 years. A lot of saw mills shut down when covid broke out and haven't gotten back to full capacity plus there are some tarrif issues if I recall correctly. The futures market may be a crazy now but it'll just take time to build up capacity to meet the demand.
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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the last report I read said they expect a return to normal in 18 months.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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^As long as interest rates stay low there will likely continue to be a backlog of funded projects across planet waiting for supply (some waiting for drop in prices, which creates a new supply backlog given so many funded projects waiting), so would be surprising if that can realistically be estimated with any accuracy, even within a 6 month range. When interest rates go back up, perhaps then a more realistic estimate range at that point.
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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A 3D-printed home for the holidays
Habitat for Humanity handed over keys to its first 3D-printed home to a Virginia woman and her son on Tuesday.
...
It took just 22 hours to print the 1,200-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home, which would take at least four weeks using standard construction methods.
...
https://www.axios.com/habitat-for-human ... -3dprinted
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Re: Do we need to stop building with concrete?

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No
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