What if buildings could act like trees? The building sector generates nearly 40 percent of all global carbon emissions. An Urban Sequoia designed building could reduce upfront embodied carbon by 70 percent and over the building’s 100-year lifespan, could absorb more than 300 percent of the amount of carbon emitted during its construction and operation.  

In this episode, I talk with Mark Sarkisian, PE, SE a Partner with SOM in San Francisco, CA.  Mark holds 14 US and international patents for high-performance seismic structural mechanisms.  In 2021, he was elected as a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, distinguished for his “innovation in efficient and aesthetic design of tall buildings and structures.”  He also has received the prestigious Fazlur Rahman Khan Life-Cycle Civil Engineering Medal.  Mr. Sarkisian authored Designing Tall Buildings: Structure as Architecture, an essential reference guide on the fundamental principles of designing high-rise structures.  

Mark is a leader in the Urban Sequoia systems approach and is charting new territory in net negative carbon building design.  We specifically talk about the Benchmark Tower, a 42 story building recently constructed in San Francisco, CA that utilizes the evolving Urban Sequoia design philosophy.  

By utilizing specific design elements including carbon neutral cement, bio bricks, biophilics, solar glass and many others, carbon output can be drastically reduced and sometimes even reversed with elements sequestering carbon, making a carbon negative design.  Space planning and layout are also vital in energy conservation.  We also talk about how shortening the construction schedule and designing buildings with longer life spans are also sustainably smart design principles.  

This is fascinating stuff and the way of the future.  This episode ties in perfectly with the Future World Vision episode with Kelly Price.  One is hypothetical and the other takes these hypothetical concepts and puts them into practice.

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