Dec 4, 2019

New White Paper from Builders for Climate Action: Low-rise Buildings as a Climate Change Solution

Builders for Climate Action is a project of Endeavor, the Sustainable Building School, and Greenup, central and eastern Ontario’s leading organization focused on issues of environmental education, sustainability, and stewardship.

The Study at a Glance


  • Buildings are a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and no climate action plan can succeed without adequately addressing this key sector
  • The response to building-related emissions has been to focus solely on energy efficiency, but this may  result in initiatives and policies that will raise emissions rather than lower them
  • We can feasibly and affordably capture and store vast amounts of carbon in buildings, transforming the sector from a major emitter to a major carbon sink

Buildings contribute to climate change  in three distinct ways:

  1. Up-front embodied carbon: the emissions arising   from the harvesting, manufacturing and transportation   of building materials
  2. Energy efficiency: the amount of energy consumed   by buildings expressed as energy use intensity or EUI
  3. Fuel source emissions: the emissions profile of the fuel   used to heat, cool and power appliances in buildings

All three factors must be considered in order to address  emissions from the building sector.


  • Two sample buildings are modeled with a wide array of conventional and alternative building materials to determine the GHG impact on “up-front” embodied carbon emissions
  • The sample buildings are modeled at two levels of energy efficiency using two different fuel sources to determine effects on operational emissions
  • Results from embodied and operational emissions are combined to determine best practice to reduce or eliminate building emissions between 2020  and 2050
  • Up-front embodied carbon, fuel source emissions and energy efficiency measures are ranked by their impact on overall carbon footprint
Download the white paper or read it online

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