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Boito Sarno Architects: The Tip of the Carbon Iceberg

22 December 2020

You’ve bought a new home, or moved into a brand new office. Before you step through the door, turn on the lights, switch on the heating or use hot water, that building will already have emitted almost half of the carbon that it will over its lifetime.

Those upfront emissions as it is being built, maintained or demolished (known as 'embodied carbon') are not regulated. Developers, architects, engineers, and contractors know how to lower those emissions, but don't have to by law.

Suppliers and manufacturers are not required to measure and declare the carbon emissions caused by materials. Professionals have been advocating for embodied carbon to be regulated, to little avail.

Most European countries, including Italy and the UK, haven’t got any regulations. France, Finland and the Netherlands have made some important steps but there’s a long way to go.
We, as an industry, are able and ready to measure, report and reduce embodied carbon emissions.

We urgently need policy makers to fill the huge legislative gap that currently exists by regulating these hidden emissions with no further delay.

Boito Sarno Architects will bring to the next Fuorisalone Terra!, a raw earth installation in an historic Brera apartment, highlighting the huge environmental impact of materials commonly used in construction.

Boito Sarno Architects is a London-based practice that champions sustainability, re-use and an ethical approach to building and design. We believe that what is already there is useful and must be the starting point any intervention, within the site but also within the urban context. We conceive design as a repair like kintsugi pottery, which mends breakage with precious lacquer, celebrating the beauty of the reclaimed.

We are active members of the Architects Climate Action Network, advocating ambitious changes to current building regulations to improve energy efficiency and campaigning for the use of low embodied carbon materials such as timber.

We would like to use this platform to advocate for embodied carbon to become a mainstream issue in architecture, interiors and design. As operational carbon reduces, the significance of embodied carbon increases. Embodied impacts include those from material production and transport, construction, maintenance and replacement of components, demolition, and waste.



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