Reducing Embodied Carbon on Domestic Projects

Mike, Director, met with Nimi from NimTim Architects this morning to discuss our domestic project portfolio with them, and what we can do together to further reduce embodied carbon on these sorts of projects. We found the discussion really useful and have already added the key takeaways to our domestic workflow checklist. Below are our top tips!

Reuse existing materials in other parts of the building – are there salvageable bits of materials that can be used elsewhere? Probably! Find them a home and cut down on waste.

Specify glulam beams over steel beams, where appropriate. We know timber won’t always be the answer to the climate crisis, but on projects of this scale it does tend to reduce embodied carbon significantly when compared to steel.

Create smaller openings in existing walls to avoid box frames. This might not be what the client wants, but you can suggest it as an alternative idea.

Use locally sourced C16 timber as opposed to imported C24 timber wherever possible. As well as using locally sourced materials in general to cut down on transport.

Specify timber in the construction of cavity walls instead of blockwork. Again, timber isn’t the answer to everything but here it makes sense!

Where possible, locate extensions away from trees to avoid deep foundations – avoiding deep excavations and extra concrete. If trees are unavoidable, use mini screw piles instead of deep concrete foundations.

Use suspended timber ground floors in place of concrete slabs.

Involve your client in the decision making process and use carbon counting tools to clearly and easily highlight the environmental impact.

We’re always thinking about ways we might be able to reduce embodied carbon through design. If you have other ideas please get in touch with us.

Thanks for a great session, Nimi!