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    • 27 October 2021

      Do Architects Really Speak Carbon?

      For all the talk around decarbonization, our industry faces a big gap between knowing the lingo and understanding the language. 

    • The last decade has seen a wellspring of vocabulary around sustainability emerge and gain prominence. But though we have the language, do we really have the literacy? What exactly is embodied carbon? Do you know your building’s carbon footprint? How can you trim that footprint in the design process? And why does it matter in the first place?

      At this year’s Building Green conference, held in Copenhagen from 3-4 November, we are proud to launch ‘Unboxing Carbon’, a four-hour introductory course for architects and associated professionals/students that aims to raise the bar around carbon literacy. 

      Unboxing Carbon starts by untangling the basic syntax of sustainability in the built environment. What is embodied carbon, what is up-front carbon, and what is embodied carbon in buildings? Why is the building industry such an important place to make change? And how do you know whether or not you are making healthy, smart, and sustainable decisions?

      Of course, the problem won’t be solved simply by understanding its magnitude, and so in the course’s next sections, this context is put to the test. Participants are given a range of material samples (common in Danish construction) and asked to sort them from highest in CO2 to lowest. In the final exercise, participants work on reading, understanding, and translating Environmental Product Declarations into numbers that can be used in the material selection process.

      The construction industry may have an outsized impact on the environment, but it also has enormous potential to be at the forefront of changes that benefit us all. Material selection can make a big difference - and architects, who have long been responsible for decisions around materials, have the potential to lead here.

      Unboxing Carbon will give attendees the tools to holistically evaluate materials and make choices that truly make a difference.

      For more information on the course, please contact Christian Oettinger at