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Carbon Storing Building Prototype


Scaling bio-based building materials beyond specialty projects or custom homes is possible and promises healthier outcomes for people, ecosystems, and the climate. In order to test feasibility and potential benefits, a team of architects, builders, and engineers designed a prototype of a building that could realistically be built in Alameda County.


While bio-based materials offer health and circularity benefits as well, the analysis in this study focuses on carbon. By employing 10 strategies, the prototype would emit about half of the embodied carbon (emissions along materials production supply chains) as using conventional material counterparts. It would additionally store double the carbon of its embodied carbon footprint in its mass, resulting in a significant overall net reduction in carbon in the atmosphere.

Ten Carbon Smart Strategies

1.       Straw insulation & Clay walls

2.       Cellulose interior insulation & straw-based MDF

3.       Compressed straw board partitions

4.       Clay floor finishes w/cork underlayment

5.       CLT podium, wood framing and HT BRB

6.       Compacted gravel

7.       Low-cement concrete

8.       Partially grouted Earthen Block

9.       Exterior wood siding

10.   Wood sourcing from verified replenishment of harvests

Download the prototype summary

(Sept 2021 | 2.5 MB PDF)

Download the report appendices

(Sept 2021 | 25 MB PDF)

Carbon Storing Building Prototype Cover.JPG
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