Learn how to increase carbon sequestration and reduce carbon footprints from fifty tips and tricks in the Climate Positive Design Toolkit.
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Concrete, Stone, Concrete Unit Pavers
Minimize amount of concrete and steel supports/footings. Do not specify tropical hardwoods to protect our carbon rich rainforests. Specify local source if possible.
C02 is stored in wood and remains there as long as its integrity is maintained.
Specify eco-friendly or organic binder.
Lower embodied carbon than other paving materials. Permeability of water through the surface if no binder is used.
Specify local or recycled aggregate.
Lower embodied carbon than other paving materials.
Specify local or recycled aggregate for base and top coat.
Concrete (typical with Portland Cement), Concrete Unit Pavers
C02 is captured from factories and remains in the concrete.
Specify maximum allowable percentage of cementitious substitutions such as slag, fly ash, glass pozzolan, or silica fume.
Lower embodied carbon than traditional concrete with Portland Cement.
Concrete Unit Pavers
Specify high percentage recycled content.
Reduce harvesting of virgin materials.
Water infiltration, lower embodied carbon than wood chips. Provide end-of-life benefit for wood re-use.
Specify large WWF spacing and light gauge if possible; specify glass reinforced TRC.
Lower embodied carbon.
HDPE Pipe, Cast, Iron
Natural drainage strategies that minimize the use of piping.
Permeability of water through the surface. Habitat creation in drainage ways.
Foam, Cellular Concrete
Use on green roofs.
Lower embodied carbon than foam or cellular concrete.
Seating areas, pathways, trails.
Prevents C02 emitted from offhauling. Minimal embodied carbon due to re-use.
Concrete, Stone, Asphalt
Can be ground into aggregate base.
Prevents C02 emitted from offhauling.
Can be ground into aggregate or kept in larger pieces for pathways.
Minimal embodied carbon due to re-use.
Aluminum, Steel, Concrete
Minimize amount of concrete footings. Do not specify tropical hardwoods to protect our carbon rich rainforests. Specify local source if possible.
Minimize amount of concrete footings.
Prevents embodied carbon of imported materials.
Removing Trees / Deforestation
Deciduous slightly higher sequestration than evergreen trees. Specify tall trees 35+ feet.
Habitat, water infiltration, biophilia.
Only construct where natural water source exists.
Wide Tree And Plant Spacing
Use tree plant spacing that exists in natural forests rather than typical plant spacing guidelines.
Lawn, Large Areas of Paved Open Space High Maintenance Landscapes that require Equipment – Lawn, Hedges
Select species that have longer growing seasons in your region.
Habitat, irrigation reduction, water infiltration, biophilia.
Lower, mid, and upper story trees and plants.
Habitat, irrigation reduction, water infiltration, biophilia, possibly food sources.
Traditional Roofs, Dark Colored Roofs
Cooling the floor below by up to 50% and reducing cooling energy needs. Extensive green roofs with minimal/no foam and paving are ideal.
Used to increase sequestration in areas with limited horizontal space.
Specify native, drought-tolerant, and low water use where possible.
Limited or Short Planting in Constrained Areas
Super sequesterer. Avoid where invasive or contain roots. Use as a regenerative building material.
Building material, habitat, water infiltration, biophilia.
Removing Wildlands, Formal Landscapes
Only implement in locations/climates as appropriate.
Habitat, water infiltration, biophilia, sea level rise protection, storm water and wastewater filtration.
Chemical Fertilizers, especially those including Nitrous Oxide (N20)
Spread over the soil, it will improve soil quality by adding carbon.
Nitrous oxide (N20) commonly found in typical fertilizers is 300 times more potent than C02. Minimizing its use is extremely important.
Store C02 of decomposed biomass. Mixed into the soil, it will improve soil quality by adding carbon.
Nitrous oxide (N20) commonly found in fertilizers has 300 times worse global warming potential (GWP) than C02. Minimizing its use is extremely important. Potentially reduces waste production, improves fertility, sequesters carbon. Increasing the carbon in the soil will increase the quality.
Saves water, improves soil quality, combats pests, stops weeds, prevents the release of N20 into the atmosphere if it already exists in the soil.
Prevents C02 emitted from removing and importing soil. Maintain soil habitat.
Leaving Soil Exposed
Plant cover crops while soil is exposed while waiting to plant. Includes legumes, grasses, brassicas, and buckwheat.
Prevents release of carbon from soil exposure to the air. Keeps carbon in the soil, maintaining soil quality.
Dark Colored Roofs
Can be as simple as painting a roof white.
Reflects solar rays cooling the floor below and reducing cooling needs.
High Maintenance Landscapes such as Lawn and Hedges
Consider native and/or adaptive planting strategies that require less maintenance and fertilizers.
Habitat, lower water use, lower fertilizer and pesticide use.
Fossil Fuel Powered Maintenance Equipment – Mowers, Blowers, Chainsaws, Trimmers
Less fossil fuel required.
Fertilizers with Nitrous Oxide (N20)
Nitrous oxide (N20) commonly found in fertilizers has 300 times worse global warming (GWP) than C02. Minimizing its use is extremely important.
Soil disturbance from excessive grading. New materials that must be delivered to a site.
Minimizing soil disturbance keeps carbon in the soil. When soils are disturbed, the organic matter dies as is exposed to the air. This causes the release of carbon into the atmosphere which combined with oxygen form Co2.
When carbon is kept in the soil, the quality is higher – more organic life exists within it.
Removing Trees And Burning Or Mulching
Re-use wood on site for exterior or for interior use.
Prevents c02 emitted from offhauling if interior, the amount of carbon sequestered remain int he material.
Removing Large Amounts Of Tree Biomass From Pruning (Specify Disposal At Cogeneration Or Biochar Facility)
Continue to maintain safety. Minimize excessive pruning beyond that.
Carbon remains in the wood while it is alive or decomposition is prevented.
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