Carbon Counts

The Liverpool School of Architecture is hosting an exhibition that explores the embodied carbon of some of the most common building materials used today.

A concept of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, who have been at the forefront of low carbon architecture for over 40 years, Carbon Counts is a striking installation which draws together key metrics for ten materials – including steel, aluminium, concrete and timber – to illustrate the embodied carbon impacts of each.

An example of one of the materials - brick - on display. The size of the sample is equivalent to the 1kg of CO2 emitted by its manufacture
An example of one of the materials – brick – on display. The size of the sample is equivalent to the 1kg of COemitted by its manufacture.

An example of one of the materials – brick – on display. The size of the sample is equivalent to the 1kg of CO2 emitted by its manufacture.

Embodied carbon is the carbon emitted in the processes involved in the creation of these materials: from the extraction, processing, manufacture and packaging of the materials; their transport to and construction on site; maintenance over their life span; and what happens to them after the building is demolished.

The exhibition, which was previously based in Manchester, opens in Liverpool on 1st February 2022, thanks to a collaboration between FCBStudios, the Liverpool School of Architecture and LSA Climate Crisis – the School’s student climate action group – with support from the University of Liverpool and the School of the Arts.

Close up of building material in perspex stand

LSA Climate Crisis works to increase awareness of the environmental impact of the construction industry, and how architecture can play a key role in mitigating climate change through conscious design. By working with FCBStudios and the School of Architecture to bring this exhibition to Liverpool, the group will provide a tangible experience for students and staff that draws attention to the carbon impact of materials commonly used in construction.

Jamie Hole, MArch5 student and member of LSA Climate Crisis, commented:

“This exhibition is an incredibly insightful experience for us students to grasp the impact of materials so commonly used in our design work and the industry.

“Moreover, it allows us to reflect on our designs with greater consideration of the materials choices we make and envision a more sustainable built environment.”

Head of the School of Architecture, Professor Ola Uduku, said:

“We are delighted to host the Carbon Counts exhibition at LSA. As a school we are committed to supporting sustainability initiatives in architectural design: our student-led LSA Climate Crisis group have been involved in climate activism in recent times and attended the Glasgow COP26 conference.

“Hosting this exhibition contributes further to our commitment to the cause of sustainability, allowing us to promote discussion of and engagement with this global issue of our time.”

By understanding how to measure the embodied and emitted carbon during the construction and life cycle of a building, architects are able to make better informed choices to improve the impact of buildings on the environment.

The exhibition itself has been designed to have a low environmental impact, while ensuring strong visual presence and longevity. Tall ‘totems’ made of recycled wood house a sample of each material inside glowing acrylic tubes. The size of each material sample varies, representing an exact equivalent of 1kg of CO2 emitted by its manufacture.

Alongside the exhibition is a website which compares in more detail the impacts of material choice, detailing the processes they go through from ‘cradle to gate’.

The Carbon Counts exhibition will run at the Liverpool School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, 25 Abercromby Square, L69 7ZN from 1st February to May 2022. Entry is free. Opening times are 10.00am-4.00pm on weekdays (other times by appointment only).

For further information contact lsaevent@liverpool.ac.uk

FCBS website: https://fcbstudios.com/Home
FCBS Carbon Counts website: https://carboncounts.fcbstudios.com/
FCBS work: https://fcbstudios.com/Work

Thanks: The installation in LSA has been brought to Liverpool through a collaboration between FCBStudios, LSA and Climate Crisis student group supported by School of the Arts

Particular thanks to:

Anna Rank, Creative Producer, FCBStudios

Cassidy Wingrove, Modelmaker, FCBStudios

Sandy Britton RIBA, Project Producer, LSA

Jamie Hole, Project Producer, Climate Action Student Group LSA

Ken Borg, Graphic Design, Studio Mothership

Technical and safety support:

Stephen Bretland , Fintan Dineen and Fiona Gilmore

Press: Alys Westmoreland, School of the Arts and Jenny Stephens, FCBStudios

Digital : Martin Winchester, LSA

Support: Climate Action Student Group LSA