This Week's Codes and Standards, April 22

Developers and owners can join AIA's 2030 commitment to create carbon neutral buildings, developments, and renovations;  new concrete manufacturing technique that may help reverse advance of climate change, Skender and Z Modular coming to Chicago, and more... 

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | April 22, 2019
Developers and owners can join AIA's 2030 commitment to create carbon neutral buildings, developments, and renovations;  new concrete manufacturing technique that may help reverse advance of climate change, Skender and Z Modular coming to Chicago, and more... 
Photo: Khara Woods/Unsplash

New Method of Manufacturing Cement Removes CO2 from the Air


A new concrete manufacturing technique extracts carbon dioxide out of the air, or directly out of industrial exhaust pipes, and turns it into synthetic limestone. With cement manufacturing responsible for 4% to 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, this breakthrough could be a significant development in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas. Consider that the pace of construction worldwide has been robust, particularly in China, in recent years. And, cement production worldwide could grow 23% by 2050.
Portland cement is made with limestone that is quarried and then heated to high temperatures, an energy-intensive process that releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide. The new technique, which has already been demonstrated in California, could not only slow the advance of climate change, but actually help to reverse it.
The inventor was inspired by how coral transform minerals in seawater to a shell-like substance. The “low-energy mineralization” technique he developed turns captured CO2 into calcium carbonate, the material synthesized by coral.

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Developers and Owners Can Now Join AIA 2030 Commitment


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) now welcomes developers and owners to join its 2030 Commitment with the goal of creating carbon neutral buildings, developments, and major renovations by 2030. National Community Renaissance (National CORE), a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, is the first developer to sign the AIA 2030 Commitment. “We look forward to accelerating progress toward our net-zero goals in partnership with National CORE and other real estate leaders in the future,” said AIA executive vice president and chief executive officer Robert Ivy, FAIA.
National CORE will work with their design teams to report energy performance data for their full portfolio of housing communities. “If we can meet the 2030 Commitment goals in our affordable housing communities, so can any owner-developer,” said Steve PonTell, president and CEO of National CORE.
AIA’s 2030 Commitment provides architects, engineers—and now developers and owners—with the tools and resources necessary to change how communities design and develop with the goal of combating the effects of climate change. In June 2018, engineers were invited to participate in the 2030 Commitment.

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Skender, Z Modular Reach Agreement to Fabricate Multifamily Housing Components


Skender and Z Modular have signed an agreement to manufacture multifamily housing components in a factory on the southwest side of Chicago. Skender, a design, construction, and manufacturing firm, will use Z Modular’s self-bracing structural VectorBloc system to fabricate building components. The aim is to produce “high-quality, multi-story modular housing that addresses a critical affordable housing need in Chicago,” according to a Skender news release.
“Our goal is to revolutionize the delivery of multifamily, hospitality and healthcare projects through modular manufacturing,” said Pete Murray, president, Skender Manufacturing. The VectorBloc steel modular construction system provides “exceptionally tight tolerances to ensure even stacking of the modules, which leads to structurally sound whole buildings,” the news release says.
The fabrication process allows the design flexibility to create a variety of building formats, Skender says. Skender will manufacture three-flat and mid-rise workforce housing buildings, among other applications.

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California Governor says he Won’t Block Construction in High-Fire Areas


California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently released a report on the challenges of California’s growing wildfire threat. He suggested that local government “de-emphasize” building in high-risk areas around forests, but added that he did not want to block construction in those locations.
Newsom noted many Californians’ desire to live in wilderness areas, and didn’t want to stop them from doing so. The recently retired head of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has said that government should consider blocking construction in high-risk areas, given the devastating loss of property and lives. Newsom says he’s never seen a realistic proposal for how to do that. More than 2.7 million Californians live in areas state fire officials say are at a very high hazard for wildfires.

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Community Energy Projects Deliver Solar Power to Low-Income Areas


Community solar projects in a few states are bringing renewable energy to low-income households. Community or shared solar is defined as a project where multiple participants own or lease shares in a mid-sized solar facility, usually between 500 kilowatts and 5 megawatts. Participants receive credits that lower their monthly utility bills based on how much power the facility delivers to the grid.
To date, most community solar participants have been businesses, universities, governments, and other organizations, and higher-earning households. Less than half of U.S. community solar projects have any participation from low-income households. Several states are working to change that, though.

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