Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

Department/Program

Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie Siehr

Abstract

In recent years, California’s wildfires have intensified and communities that have been impacted by these wildfires are now beginning to rebuild. Materials that are both fire-resistant and low in embodied carbon should be used when rebuilding in fire-prone regions. Embodied carbon in buildings contributes to about 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To help California reach its climate mitigation and resilience goals, this study examined the utilization of low-carbon and fire-resistant building materials during the post-wildfire rebuilding process. Embodied emissions are significantly reduced when building designs incorporate low-carbon materials. This study examined low-carbon and fire-resistant exterior building materials that can be used when rebuilding in fire-prone areas to reduce the embodied carbon of new construction. This study also examined opportunities for material reuse that can be used to help further reduce the embodied carbon of buildings and divert waste away from landfills. Low-carbon and material reuse recommendations for rebuilding after a wildfire include: 1) develop a low-carbon building guidance document and incentives program 2) require whole building life cycle assessments for new construction 3) establish a low-carbon concrete requirement 4) create a material reuse and redistribution program for rebuilding after a wildfire 5) develop a universal building materials database. These recommendations will help develop communities that are more resistant to wildfires, and these recommendations will help to mitigate further climate change impacts by reducing embodied carbon in the rebuilding process.

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