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  1. Greenhouse gases trap heat within our atmosphere, leading to an unnatural increase in temperature. Carbon dioxide and its equivalent emissions have been a large focus when considering sustainability in the civil engineering field, with a reduction of global warming potential being a top priority. According to a 2017 report by the World Green Building Council, the construction and usage of buildings account for 39 percent of human carbon emissions in the United States, almost one third of which are from the extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of materials. Substituting wood for high emission materials could greatly reduce carbon if harvested and disposed of in a controlled way. To investigate this important issue, San Francisco State University and University of South Carolina partnered with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a world leader in designing high-rise buildings, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, to investigate and quantify the embodied carbons of various slab system designs using a high-rise residential complex in San Francisco as a case study. Three concept designs were considered: a concrete building with cementitious replacement, a concrete building without cementitious replacement, and a concrete building with cementitious replacement and nail-laminated timber wood inlaysmore »inserted into various areas of the superstructure slabs. The composite structural slab system has the potential to surpass the limitations of wood-framed structures yet incorporate the carbon sequestration that makes wood a more sustainable material. The results show that wood substitution could decrease overall emissions from the aforementioned designs and reduce the environmental footprint of the construction industry.« less
  2. Greenhouse gases trap heat within our atmosphere, leading to an unnatural increase in temperature. Carbon dioxide and its equivalent emissions have been a large focus when considering sustainability in the civil engineering field, with a reduction of global warming potential being a top priority. According to a 2017 report by the World Green Building Council, the construction and usage of buildings account for 39 percent of human carbon emissions in the United States, almost one third of which are from the extraction, manufacturing, and transportation of materials. Substituting wood for high emission materials could greatly reduce carbon if harvested and disposed of in a controlled way. To investigate this important issue, San Francisco State University and University of South Carolina partnered with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, a world leader in designing high-rise buildings, through a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site program, to investigate and quantify the embodied carbons of various slab system designs using a high-rise residential complex in San Francisco as a case study. Three concept designs were considered: a concrete building with cementitious replacement, a concrete building without cementitious replacement, and a concrete building with cementitious replacement and naillaminated timber wood inlaysmore »inserted into various areas of the superstructure slabs. The composite structural slab system has the potential to surpass the limitations of wood-framed structures yet incorporate the carbon sequestration that makes wood a more sustainable material. The results show that wood substitution could decrease overall emissions from the aforementioned designs and reduce the environmental footprint of the construction industry.« less