Worldwide, there has been increasing focus on the carbon footprint of buildings and recognition that design professionals are positioned to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by creating high-performance structures. The building sector consumes nearly half of all energy produced in the United States, 75 percent of the electricity produced is used operating buildings, and, in 2010, the building sector was responsible for nearly half of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

However, buildings also offer a solution. By 2035, approximately 75 percent of the nation’s building stock will be either new or renovated (from a 2010 baseline). This transformation offers a significant opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.

Learning Objectives – After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Examine the natural cycle of carbon absorption and storage, and the role of forests and wood products in mitigating carbon emissions.
  2. Discuss the role of wood products sourced from sustainably managed forests in the design of sustainable, environmentally positive buildings.
  3. Explain the low embodied energy of wood products, and how this translates into avoided carbon emissions throughout their life cycles.
  4. Compare the carbon benefits of example buildings based on the results of two calculators.
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