Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute have developed a new CO2-absorbing material that’s a low-cost alternative to concrete.
Cement production is one of the largest contributors to climate change. As published in the journal Matter, the research has led to the creation of a self-healing Enzymatic Construction Material that the research team describes as a “living material” that “provides a pathway to repair or even replace [traditional] concrete in the future.”
The material uses an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, found in all living cells. Carbonic anhydrase efficiently reacts with CO2, and “has the unique ability to rapidly remove the greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. This property has allowed us to formulate a carbon-negative material,” says Richard Whitcomb Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Suzanne Scarlata.
Researchers say the material has “outstanding” compression strength, rivaling traditional mortar, making it strong enough to use in the construction of bridges or buildings as compressive elements. The research team plans to take steps to bring the material out of the lab soon and work toward commercialization.
Codes and Standards | Jun 2, 2023
Supreme Court drastically reduces wetland areas impacted by Clean Water Act
A recent Supreme Court decision that substantially narrowed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate millions of acres of wetlands is expected to open more land for development. More than half of the nation’s wetlands could lose protection under the Clean Water Act, according to environmentalists and legal analysts.
Multifamily Housing | May 30, 2023
Boston’s new stretch code requires new multifamily structures to meet Passive House building requirements
Phius certifications are expected to become more common as states and cities boost green building standards. The City of Boston recently adopted Massachusetts’s so-called opt-in building code, a set of sustainability standards that goes beyond the standard state code.
Contractors | May 26, 2023
Enhanced use of data is crucial for improving construction job site safety
Executives with major construction companies say new digital tools are allowing them to use data more effectively to reduce serious safety incidents and improve job site safety.
Affordable Housing | May 17, 2023
Affordable housing advocates push for community-owned homes over investment properties
Panelists participating in a recent webinar hosted by the Urban Institute discussed various actions that could help alleviate the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Among the possible remedies: inclusionary zoning policies, various reforms to increase local affordable housing stock, and fees on new development to offset the impact on public infrastructure.
Sponsored | Building Enclosure Systems | May 16, 2023
4 steps to a better building enclosure
Dividing the outside environment from the interior, the building enclosure is one of the most important parts of the structure. The enclosure not only defines the building’s aesthetic, but also protects occupants from the elements and facilitates a comfortable, controlled climate. With dozens of components comprising the exterior assemblies, from foundation to cladding to roof, figuring out which concerns to address first can be daunting.
Multifamily Housing | May 16, 2023
Legislators aim to make office-to-housing conversions easier
Lawmakers around the country are looking for ways to spur conversions of office space to residential use.cSuch projects come with challenges such as inadequate plumbing, not enough exterior-facing windows, and footprints that don’t easily lend themselves to residential use. These conditions raise the cost for developers.
BIM and Information Technology | May 8, 2023
BIM Council seeks public comments on BIM Standard-US Version 4
The Building Information Management (BIM) Council is seeking public comment on an updated national BIM standard. NBIMS-US V4 has been three years in the making and is scheduled to be released this fall.
Regulations | May 8, 2023
Supreme Court case likely to have huge impact on Clean Water Act
A case before the Supreme Court will likely determine how the Clean Water Act is interpreted and the ruling could open up new areas for development within or adjacent to wetlands.
Codes and Standards | May 8, 2023
New ASHRAE standard defines ‘zero energy’ and ‘zero carbon’ buildings
ASHRAE has released a new standard that defines the terms ‘Zero Energy’ and ‘Zero Carbon’ to describe buildings. ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 228-2023, Standard Method of Evaluating Zero Net Energy and Zero Net Carbon Building Performance, sets requirements for evaluating whether a building or group of buildings meets a definition of “zero net energy” or a definition of “zero net carbon” during operation.
Sustainability | May 1, 2023
Increased focus on sustainability is good for business and attracting employees
A recent study, 2023 State of Design & Make by software developer Autodesk, contains some interesting takeaways for the design and construction industry. Respondents to a survey of industry leaders from the architecture, engineering, construction, product design, manufacturing, and entertainment spheres strongly support the idea that improving their organization’s sustainability practices is good for business.