To take responsibility and encourage all to take action, SOUR has launched a new carbon calculator that measures the greenhouse gas impacts of construction activities in terms of carbon dioxide equivalency (CO2e). It does this by calculating the embodied carbon of constructed spaces and footprint of its supply chain activities. This tool is developed to estimate emissions based upon most up-to-date emission datasets, in order to raise awareness of carbon footprint and stimulate action. Through this calculator, SOUR offsets its estimate project carbon footprint through Cool Effect, a nonprofit organization which matches more than 90% of its donations with scientifically verified carbon reducing projects.
"Offsetting is certainly not a cure for all and we should not rely on it as an on-going solution," says Pinar Guvenc, Partner at SOUR, "this tool is built so that we can have a better understanding of our footprint in our projects and we can address the reasons more effectively. We choose to offset in the process. This could be a useful tool for many others which is why we wanted to make it public."
SOUR's carbon calculator is cradle to gate scope. It incorporates the Carbon Leadership Forum's global Embodied Carbon Benchmark Database of over 1,000 existing buildings and The North America Based carbon stocks of soil, delineated based upon ecoregion from a study in Nature published in 2021. As the calculator can help estimate both embodied carbon of buildings and footprint of supply chain, it can be used to get an estimate for both architectural projects and product sourcing.
In Archinect’s article titled Meet the Architects Designing Software to Fight Climate Change, SOUR’s Carbon Calculator was among four architectural studios that are trying to raise awareness on global climate change through digital interventions:
Each of the four digital tools offers unique background stories, functions, aims, and users. While KieranTimberlake’s Tally system plugs into BIM software to generate Life Cycle Assessments, SOUR Studio’s carbon calculator offers a standalone resource for architects to understand the embodied carbon behind their designs. While CallisonRTKL’s CLIMATESCOUT tool offers a portfolio of sustainable design strategies for new buildings, Sasaki’s climate.park.change allows designers, agencies, and the general public to understand and combat the specific issues facing America’s natural parks.
Despite this variety in approach and function, all four tools speak to an inter-relationship between the physical and virtual; a demonstration of how digital tools can offer unprecedented detail, accuracy, and ease of access to knowledge of how design decisions can have a positive or negative impact on the environment. Moreover, all four speak to a growing recognition that while the future of the architectural profession will continue to be grounded in the convention of building design, our ability to tackle major issues and crises reaches much further. - Archinect