The intersection of carbon sequestration and habitat provision in built environments: building rating tools comparison

  • YEAR
    Varshney, Kamiya
    Pedersen Zari, Maibritt
    Bakshi, Nilesh
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Design Thinking and Innovation


The expansion of the built environment is a significant driver of climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Subsequently, ecosystem services required for the basic survival of humans are often reduced or removed altogether in many urban contexts. There are numerous building rating tools that are used to conduct building assessments in order to reduce impacts through building design and innovation. This study explores the potential relationships (synergies and trade-offs) between carbon sequestration and habitat provision in building design, and how these can be implemented as an important part of building rating systems. This paper presents a comparative analysis of three building rating tools identifying how they take the provision of habitat and the sequestration of carbon into account during building assessment. Results demonstrate that the building rating systems tend to aim for minimisation of carbon emissions rather than sequestering of carbon from the environment. The only exception to this is the Living Building Challenge. Furthermore, habitat provision is seldom assessed in great detail. The paper concludes by proposing a number of strategies for habitat provision that foster or relate to carbon sequestration in the context of building design.

Keywords: Carbon sequestration; habitat provision; building rating tools; ecosystem services.


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