Early info on CO2 cost of all components now key to design

The fact that there are now regulations and a political will to focus on sustainability and the built environment is a good thing according to Mario Pirwitz, associate partner at architectural firm JSWD.

“We have been talking about that for years but actually now suddenly someone is listening,” he said.

Furthermore, banks now want to know how buildings perform before they will finance them, he added. His firm now uses a tool which creates detailed BIM (building information modelling) models and the next stage is to include the CO2 footprint of every material and element in these models.

“We will then be able to present to the client at a rather early stage how his or her building will perform and what the keys are to improve that performance,” Pirwitz said.

“That will not mean we put a green facade on every single building, or build everything in timber, but sometimes that might be the right answer,” he added.

In Dusseldorf, the firm is currently working on the tallest timber hybrid structure in Europe and in Cologne will demolish a 70s building which cannot be refurbished, but plans entail recycling material in the new façade.

He said that the challenge is to discuss these aspects early enough in the design process so that there is an opportunity to choose different solutions if necessary. The key is to know how buildings will perform in the long term.

Please click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.