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21 October 2013

Negative Carbon is a Real Positive for Designers says James Jones

The UK government acknowledges that the construction industry has an important role to play in the reduction of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) to mitigate Climate Change as it could influence 47% of all GHG emissions in the UK. Therefore choosing low carbon materials for the construction of buildings can significantly contribute to limiting the negative environmental impact of construction and mitigate the effects of climate change.

While this focus on environmental performance is good news, the marketplace offers a bewildering choice of “green” products and architects and specifiers are faced with the challenge of judging which materials are most effective and most environmentally efficient. Carbon footprint is one useful metric for comparing the contribution of different materials to climate change. The standard PAS2050:2011 gives the methodology for companies to calculate their own carbon footprint. This methodology has a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach which involves measuring all the GHG emissions generated in the sourcing and manufacturing of a product (cradle to gate).

In the case of James Jones, our carbon footprint has been third party independently validated to ensure compliance with PAS2050:2011. Our results show that 1 linear metre of JJI-Joists can store CO2 emissions even after emissions from our process and supply chain have been considered.

On a bigger scale, tailored data can be offered for floor, roof and wall designs showing the total GHG emissions stored per house. For example, a recent volume housebuilder floor design we supplied revealed that 500kg CO2e were stored per house.

James Jones can also link carbon footprint results with BIM packages. This helps specifiers quickly assess the contribution of their buildings to climate change and the effect of materials choice on the final carbon footprint of their projects. This is particularly important as the Government deadline of 2016 for supporting BIM in all its projects draws closer.


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