Substitute Materials

A recent paper, “Application of non-degradable waste as building material for low-cost housing” looks at using, specifically, used diapers to substitute for some of the aggregate in concrete. The authors make a convincing argument –jokes abut the possibility of winning an Ig Nobel aside – but I feel like there may be issues in switching from …

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I don’t normally discuss breaking news – given the nature of our work, some of the topics we get most excited about are 80 years or more old – but today’s smoke from the Canadian wildfires was something else. The unretouched picture above, courtesy of EarthCam shows lower Manhattan as seen from Jersey City. Our office …

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Recent Readings On A Theme

Three closely related articles were stored away in my browser bookmarks and it’s time to spread them around. First, “The Carbon Footprint of Material Obsolescence” by Blaine Brownell. The article looks at the life-cycle carbon cost of various construction materials. We need to consider not just the cost (meaning money, pollution, and carbon liberated) of materials’ creation …

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Making The Rubble Bounce

Two articles came up in recent reading on more or less the same topic. First, “We Can’t Build Our Way To Net Zero” by Patrice Frey and Vincent Martinez. Second, “New Buildings are Terrible for the Environment. This Arena is Proof.” by Nate Berg. The first is an opinion piece with data references to back …

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Reuse, Again

There’s been discussion recently of combining two problems – New York’s never-ending housing shortage, and the current glut of office space because of the Covid-inspired push towards working from home and hybrid work – into one solution. Convert offices to apartments and in theory each problems solves the other. It’s not that easy, of course, …

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