Corentin Fivet (SXL), Catherine De Wolf (SXL), François Golay (LASIG)
The construction and demolition of buildings is responsible for over a third of all waste and for a tenth of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. Historically shadowed by environmental impacts resulting from the operation of buildings, the study of embodied impacts in buildings has only recently gained momentum. Related research mainly addresses the material, component, and building scales. They rarely address the city scale, nor do they introduce time-related considerations. We here introduce a new method to express material use and embodied greenhouse gas emissions of load-bearing systems in buildings at the city scale and across time. The building stock of the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, between 1850 and 2018 is used as a case study. This work is multidisciplinary in nature as it requests expertise within the Habitat Research Center, from structural design and cartography engineering, to construction technology history, life-cycle assessment, and urban planning theory. The main objective of this work is to collect and compute a new kind of data – i.e. environmental impacts of buildings over a wide time/space field – whose interactive visualization will eventually lead to new research questions across usual discipline silos.