Extreme weather conditions across the globe have brought the urgency of climate action to center stage. Our built environment is responsible for almost 40% of CO2 emissions annually, and the global building stock is set to double by 2050. Common building materials like XPS foam, and cement are extremely high in embodied carbon. Designing for net zero energy is important. However, achieving net zero upfront embodied carbon in buildings is now the gold standard for new construction in order to limit the worst impacts of climate change.
The Strawtegi CO2ttage is a net zero carbon footprint demonstration project in Salt Lake City, designed to work in harmony with natural environmental systems to create a new home that maintains the luxuries, convenience, and comfort expected for modern urban lifestyles. As a 650 sf accessory dwelling unit, the aesthetic design is consistent with the character of the main house and older urban neighborhood. The passive solar design uses natural materials like lumber, wood fiber board, straw, and hemp batting, that are inherently composed of sequestered atmospheric carbon, to safely lock that carbon into the building envelope for the life cycle of the home, which is expected to be 100 years or more.
Currently under construction, the home includes an innovative, modular panel wall system insulated with dense-packed chopped straw, which is the first permitted structure of its kind in the US. The Stawtegi CO2ttage will sequester net 5.5 tons more carbon equivalents than emitted in the production and assembly of the building’s shell from resource extraction to ready product. The result is a natural, beautiful, and comfortable home that meets and exceeds standards for health, safety, thermal comfort, durability, and environmental sustainability, demonstrating that creative adaptation of conventional building practices can yield beautiful, impactful, and immediate results toward positive climate action.