We are delighted to be bringing forward our next batch of projects into the delivery stage – one of which we have been working on for over four years. As we begin the detailed design, one of our ambitions is to see if we can create carbon negative buildings – buildings that store more carbon than it takes to construct the buildings, produce the materials, and ultimately dismantle them.

There is a short fall in real data around this subject, so this will be the first of many blogs as we document our progress.

Here is what was found while considering using OSB as the default internal boarding material. This paper titled Carbon storage in wood products is a helpful starting point as it sets out the amount of emissions stored in a wood product versus the emissions associated with its production.

Carbon stored per cubic meter product

Carbon produced in the production process (varies depending on the type of renewable energy sources used for electricity and heat)

Particle board 720 kgCO2

Particle board 542-698 kgCO2

OSB board 720 kgCO2

OSB Board 639-710 kgCO2

MDF Board 820 kgCO2

MDF 485-763 kgCO2

Production of all three materials uses a lot of heat, MDF more so than Particle board or OSB. The paper does state that producing MDF using fossil fuels all but wipes out the stored carbon - 749 kgCO2 in production versus 820 kgCO2 in the material.

So, if internal boarding is going to help our carbon accounting - particularly with transport emissions of bringing the material to site not yet included - then we need a UK OSB board manufacturer who uses renewables, as close to Sussex as possible, at a competitive price.

While we don’t yet have prices or supply chain it appears there is a potential solution based in Dartford, Medite SmartPly.  The product datasheet states that the material is carbon positive with further data available on request – we’ve been in contact and so far they have been really helpful.

It will be interesting to understand once transport emissions are taken into account if this remains carbon negative. This info sheet on calculating embodied carbon emissions has some really helpful transport emissions factors for moving forward with.