Carbon Tiles upcycles pollutions for a sustainable solution to carbon emissions
By: Tejas Sidnal
Movement, the very nature of human kind is extracting natural resources and consuming energy at an unchecked rate. Our perceived progress is breaking the life supporting balance on Earth, especially due to air pollution. It is the most important health risk of our time. Among the toxins present in the polluted air, Particulate Matter (PM particles) are the most dangerous.
Presently, 9 out of 10 people live in places where air quality exceeds WHO limits. Zooming in towards the causes, it can be found that the building & construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials and responsible for 39% of total energy-related carbon emissions according to the World Green Building Council. We are very likely to reach 9 billion of us by 2050. This imposes tremendous dependency on the construction sector to accommodate the increasing population. To sustain, it is important for us to shift towards a circular economy.
US$ 140 billion per year. This is what it would take to make the changes we need to adapt. Sounds like a lot? but it’s less than 0.1% of global GDP.
Carbon Craft Design has developed Carbon Tile – a first of its kind to be made using carbon emissions – that aims to offset the world’s carbon emissions at scale through conventional building elements. Movement, the very nature of humankind is extracting natural resources and consuming energy at an unchecked rate.
I observed that there were methods to capture pollution but the resulting question – what to do with the captured pollution – intrigued him to find a way to upcycle this into a new form. He envisioned an Architectural intervention that it cannot be only through technology but with the help of design & architecture, we can make a collective impact at a visible scale in solving this problem.
Since 2016, the company has been designing, prototyping using local craft to figure a way to use the captured carbon as a resource in building material. Conventional building materials are all around us due to their modularity and repeatability. So, we asked ourselves what if we infused this carbon in building material to innovate scalable solutions.
One such material is tile.
Tiles have been of historical significance in decorative spaces and artistic exhibitions. With the present day context, we designed Carbon Tiles to use its significance in commercializing environmental solutions. This is at the intersection of Craft, Design and Technology with the sole aim of building scalable solutions. To harvest carbon emissions, we collaborate with businesses and factories who are huge carbon emitters or looking for more ways to treat these emissions. One of them is AIR-INK who pioneered the concept of recycling carbon emissions.
One Carbon Tile is equivalent to preventing 30,000 litres of air from being polluted.
That is how much we breathe in 1 day. Every Carbon Tile is handcrafted right from the start. The process begins with Cutting, Shaping, Joining, Filling and lastly, Forming the tile. The captured pollution is initially processed to remove harmful heavy metal impurities, and fused with a mixture of cement and natural materials like marble derivatives to craft Carbon Tiles. The whole process consumes the least amount of energy compared to the conventional ceramic tiles.
After rigorous prototyping, our tiles had passed all the standard tests of cement tiles. Our design thinking is to communicate climate change issues. For us, Tile was a great way to start with. Inspired by the unique identities of the cities and the natural elements that define these cities, we created an exciting new range of flooring patterns.
It is applicable from a living space to a lobby area of an office. We are on a path to address climate change through craft and design. To achieve it – we build products by upcycling carbon emissions.
(The first-ever International Day for Clean Air and Blue Skies is on 7th September 2020. We’re collecting voices on issues such as air pollution, stubble burning, vehicular emissions, cycling from all parts of India. This is your chance to share your story with us!)
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)