Material Choices Matter
The building industry is responsible for a plurality of worldwide carbon, and nearly half of new construction emissions between now and 2050 will come from the manufacture, transportation, and disposal of building materials themselves.
Traditionally, AEC professionals have overlooked this “embodied carbon” in favor of operational energy reductions from more efficient heating, cooling, and ventilation.
This project developed a Unity-based game for students, campus visitors, area professionals, climate activists, and policymakers to learn about embodied carbon and develop strategies to mitigate these impacts. After a series of educational slides, players are led through a digital twin of Harvard’s House Zero and prompted to explore building assemblies such as floors, ceilings, and walls. Players are asked to pick materials with the lowest carbon footprint, and they earn points by selecting materials like wood that sequester carbon dioxide. In the end, their score is converted into a value of trees that are either chopped down or planted.
In the future, we envision integrating this game with House Zero’s existing AR interface or adapting it to famous landmarks. Our aim is to foster embodied carbon advocates by adding excitement to an otherwise dry and academic problem.