Highstreet’s dedication to environmental sustainability has informed many of our design, construction, and operation processes. For Earth Day 2020, we want to release some of our stats for our Carrington View project in West Kelowna.
Thank you to Jalal Aidun, Jerrot Macloed, and the Okanagan College Sustainable Construction Management program for compiling this information along with our Sustainability Analyst, Jay Starnino.
Highstreet’s buildings have a low carbon footprint, both upfront and through operations. Electrically-fueled, high-efficiency, wood-based buildings have a lower impact than the concrete buildings of old, and Carrington View is a prime example of this.
With an operational carbon footprint the fraction of a single vehicle, we can be proud of the minimal impact our buildings have on the environment, all while we strive to further reduce our embodied carbon.
Carrington View Building A is expected to have an annual emissions footprint of 879 kg CO2 per year from energy use.
For reference, a typical automobile travelling 20,000km per year releases 4600kg of CO2.
This suggests that on an annual basis Carrington View Building A emits very little carbon, less than a fifth of on average American automobile. This carbon footprint is due to the few remaining fossil fuels in BC’s energy grid.
Any remaining operational carbon footprint is offset by our on-site solar arrays.
For comparison, the same building using typical Alberta electricity would have an emissions footprint of 217,479 kg of CO2 equivalents per year, nearly 250 times as much.
This is due to the emissions associated with burning fuel for electricity rather than using hydro or wind, like we tend to in BC.
Emission factors in Alberta are large due to the use of petroleum products as a primary source of electricity and it’s inefficiencies. In comparison, the same building in Alberta using clean Natural Gas as a primary source of heat and power would emit about 50,971 kgCO2e, a significant savings over petroleum-fueled electricity.
When the annual operating carbon emissions are very low, the embodied (or upfront) carbon emissions from construction becomes more relevant.
Carrington View Building A is expected to have an embodied emissions footprint of 774,000 kg of CO2.
The building must operate for 880 years for the operational carbon to overtake the embodied carbon.
By the time the building is occupied 90% of its emissions have been accounted for.
This is typical of high-performance buildings, as they typically have both a lower operating carbon intensity as well as higher embodied emissions.
When compared on a per sqft basis, the embodied carbon emissions of Carrington View Building A is 2% better than typical for buildings with improved efficiency. This is likely due to the low embodied carbon of wood construction.
Most of the embodied carbon comes from the concrete parkade, EPS walls, and the floor system, complete with acoustic batt, gypcrete, and gypsum board, and other acoustic measures.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
We use SIP Styrofoam based walls for this building. We typically limit our use of sprayfoam and styrofoam products, but fully eliminating them from our spec and replacing with carbon sequestering products could lead to an additional reduction of 20,000kg of CO2e.
CarbonCure, a carbon sequestering concrete would reduce the impact of our carbon intensive parkades and foundations.
Finding opportunities to replace single use plastics with recyclable or rapidly renewable materials further reduces our carbon footprint, examples would be PVC windows and doors, and wood based cladding.