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“The world’s most sustainable office building”? Bloomberg HQ and Embodied Carbon

Part 2 Dissertation 2023
Adam Szyman
University of Liverpool | UK
This dissertation seeks to understand the importance of Embodied Carbon in design projects, particularly in those that already claim to have ‘sustainable design’. Although Climate Change is pushing the building industry to adopt more low-carbon solutions, research indicates that embodied carbon is still poorly utilized by designers. Through the selected case study, Bloomberg Headquarters, the subject around embodied carbon is explored in detail. Through the analysis and redesign of its façade, quantitative calculation proves that substantial reductions of embodied carbon can be made, using a selected design agenda focused on volume and material.

Results of the study suggest that even through late-stage project development, the designer can still bear a large influence on the embodied carbon outcome of a project. In the case study, results found that the façade materials contained a very large quantity of embodied carbon, primarily being bronze shipped from Japan. It is concluded that the building is likely not meeting current climate change targets, despite its praise of innovative power-saving design. The study finds that a theoretical 95% of embodied carbon may be reduced from the façade.

Important topics of discussion surrounding choice of materials, lifespan, wastage, transport, carbon sequestration and end-of-life procedures are highlighted.

Adam Szyman

Jiangtao Du
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