Researchers: Keagan Rankin, Shoshanna Saxe

Rising social and economic pressures to build more housing and infrastructure are in tension with the need to rapidly reduce GHG emissions from resource extraction and use. This paper presents the Future Infrastructure Growth (FIG) model: an open data, bottom-up, generalizable statistical tool for forecasting future embodied GHG emissions associated with the construction of housing and supportive infrastructure. FIG is demonstrated by examining Canada’s emissions through 2030 and 2050. Canada needs to build 5.8 million homes by 2030 to restore affordability. If built using current construction practices, embodied emission will be more than 376% of the 2030 national reduction target. FIG is used to analyse the impact of alternative strategies for reducing embodied GHG, including changes in urban form, building design, reductions in material GHG intensity, infill and circularity. FIG is able to find a narrow pathway where all five strategies are combined to meet both housing and climate goals. 

Full paper: