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I'm looking for a model of the carbon emissions of a concrete house vs a mostly timber house.

That is, a program writen in code or text with parameters such as : square meters, number of floors, wood species, distance travelled.

It looks like open source carbon models are almost unheard of yet.




We looked into this with a completely open toolchain [0]. You could email either of the two first authors to get the code (not sure why it wasn't in the paper supporting information).

Building open carbon models isn't difficult, it's the input data that normally require licenses. I have built an open source life cycle assessment (LCA) software which has some traction [1], and there are alternatives for LCA [2] and integrated assessment models [3, 4]. However, data availability, especially on the level of completeness and detail you need to answer a specific question like carbon performance of a structure over a given period of time is a challenge. We are working on building a large open database to answer these kinds of questions[5], and Hacker News readers are welcome. Happy to chat via email if you want more info!

[0] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b01735

[1] https://brightwaylca.org/

[2] http://www.openlca.org/

[3] https://github.com/JGCRI/gcam-core

[4] https://github.com/iiasa/message_ix

[5] https://bonsai.uno/


Thanks for these great resources.

What I'm trying to do is, I believe, complementary to these LCA tools. I'm building a website https://futur.eco that bridges carbon models with our every day life as citizens.

Sorry, it's in french for now, but I have some hopes that you read french :-)

Behind the website is a database of open source and extremely simple LCA models, expressed in a new redable programming language. All of it resides in this single file : https://github.com/laem/futureco-data/blob/master/co2.yaml.


I thought there was concrete that could absorb co2... but maybe it’s not enough to be carbon neutral.


The process of making clinker uses heat to separate CaCO3 into CaO and CO2 [0]. This release of CO2 is normally about half the CO2 footprint of making concrete (the rest is mostly combustion of coal to generate heat).

CO2 can penetrate into the concrete and bond with CaO, over time reabsorbing all the CO2 released during the calcination process. In practice, CO2 doesn't penetrate deeply into concrete, so depending on the concrete type and environment something like 25% of the potential absorption of concrete is realized (this is based on a conversation I had with a colleague at work, the number is not exact).

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate




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