Tackling the Carbon Footprint of Tensile Structures: Balancing Commercial Objectives with Environmental Responsibility.
LOW IMPACT: A measured approach
Naturally, the materials we use to design, engineer, and build tensile structures are efficiently specified to create safe, comfortable, and durable structures.
However, it is abundantly clear that we need to reduce the harm that manufacturing and disposal of these materials cause our planet's ecosystem, accounting for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
How do WE tackle such a variable challenge?
Greater collaboration within our industry is necessary, balancing our commercial objectives with the greater good that truly serves Mother Nature as our most important stakeholder and meaningfully seeing ourselves as a network of collaborators, not competitors.
To start, we need to reduce the embodied carbon of the structures we design through material choice and structural optimization, and we require an agreed set of principles for the carbon measurement to guide this process and inform design decisions.
CRADLE TO GRAVE
Tenthouse Structures follows internationally recognized guidelines that consider carbon emissions throughout the product life cycle. The calculations consider material volumes and audited carbon emission data, combined with consideration of the construction process, operational use, and end-of-life deconstruction to give a cradle-to-grave total count.
An understanding of our lifetime operational energy is gained through our COMFORT-ENERGY studies.
An "emissions number" alone cannot guide the design but is used in a relative manner when comparing several scheme options, supply sources, transportation options, etc. – it's a tool to steer design choices and present options to our clients.
TARGETS FOR S.E.C.
Within the construction industry, an aim has been set to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and a carbon reduction path has been set to achieve that. The SCORS system (structural carbon rating system) provides a simple product rating based on cradle-to-gate emissions relative to the building plan area.The system is reinforced by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) targets for the same.
The global average of all building types currently sits within the 'E' band (340kgCo/sqm).
Tensile structures, by nature of their efficient and minimalist use of materials, sit above that line.
Our current assessment of our typical Expedition Camps unit (including its bathroom and platform) finds us within the 'B' band (170kgCo/sqm).
Our T2 Modular structures sit provisionally on the global target (still under calculation); however, with its very low operational S.E.C. and significant Beyond Life credits due to recycling, we expect this structure's Total life cycle emissions to be compelling.
At Tenthouse, we aim to target yearly reductions by developing innovative new systems, materials, and supply chain management to keep us on our elevated path toward carbon neutrality. By adopting sustainable practices, investing in renewable energy sources, and reducing waste, we can pave the way for a more sustainable future.
Together, let us all play an active role in this path toward carbon neutrality!
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