One avenue for fighting climate change is to aim for carbon neutral buildings.
In a new research paper published in Buildings, Hua Ge, Radu Zmeureanu and graduate student Felipe Grossi from the Department of Building, Civil, and Environmental Engineering at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, explore the potential of using trees planted around buildings as a means of carbon sequestration, the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
They use a technique called life cycle carbon assessment to evaluate the environmental impact of planting trees around buildings.
In this paper, they study the life cycle carbon assessment of the all-electric Concordia Future Buildings laboratory and of a single-detached house powered by natural gas, both located in Montreal.
For the all-electric laboratory, a garden fully covered with representative urban trees could offset around 17% of the total life cycle carbon emissions. For the natural gas-powered single-detached house, the sequestration by trees is around 3% of the total life cycle carbon emission.
The use of trees could reduce the CO2 emissions due to building’s construction and operation but cannot offset entirely. Other mitigation methods must be applied. Further research will focus on evaluating and developing other nature-based solutions for carbon-neutral buildings and communities.
"Feasibility of Planting Trees around Buildings as a Nature-Based Solution of Carbon Sequestration—An LCA Approach Using Two Case Studies" belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Carbon Neutral Climate Resilient Buildings and Communities of Buildings.