Project to store 1,000 tons of CO2 for decades, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere for the lifetime of the building
Aureus Earth, the world’s leading provider of carbon offsetting incentive programs for the construction industry, today announced its first transaction that values the long-term biogenic carbon storage in a mass timber building. The transaction was accomplished in partnership with the University of Washington (UW) Foster School of Business, using the newly completed Founders Hall mass timber building as a proof of concept.
Aureus Earth offers developers financial incentives to utilize carbon-storing and low-carbon materials, turning buildings into carbon sinks and accelerating the decarbonization of the construction industry. The company has developed a carbon offset protocol for sustainably harvested mass timber that quantifies biogenic carbon stored in the building and issues carbon offsets based on carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The resulting carbon offsets can be sold to help reduce the cost of mass timber construction.
Because building construction and modification are subject to documentation and permitting, offsets created on the basis of mass timber construction are easily monitored for episodes of carbon leakage. In addition, offsets are guaranteed by Aureus Earth for 100 years using an assurance fund that protects against early emissions release, making them transparent, long-lived, and superior in quality. As part of their service, Aureus Earth matches building owners with purchasers of high-quality carbon offsets, namely companies with ambitious net-zero or climate-positive carbon emissions goals. Alternatively, building owners may elect to apply the carbon offsets toward their own carbon reduction goals, a practice known as carbon insetting.
“Decarbonizing the built environment is a crucial component to effectively combating climate change,” said Dr. Wil Srubar, co-founder of Aureus Earth. “Mass timber presents an opportunity to turn new buildings into effective carbon sinks. By issuing offsets for the biogenic carbon stored in a mass timber building, we are helping developers offset the cost of mass timber construction, thereby accelerating the pace of the construction industry’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
The University of Washington has a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship, with initiatives that extend beyond the enhancement of the environment to also include how it manages facilities and resources. Designed by LMN Architects, Founders Hall is a six-story mass timber building that provides instructional, academic, and administrative space for the business school. At 96,000 square feet, the building will store more than 1,000 tons of CO2 for decades, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere for the lifetime of the building, and likely beyond.
“We’re delighted Founders Hall supports the University of Washington’s Climate Action Plan through decreasing greenhouse gasses,” said Frank Hodge, Janet and Orin Smith Dean of the Foster School of Business. “Our partnership with Aureus Earth provides a potential framework for other campus capital projects at the UW – and for campuses across the country – to incentivize the use of environmentally friendly building materials. It’s a demonstration of our commitment to climate leadership via business innovation.”
The carbon offsets were purchased by stakeholders interested in the decarbonization of the construction industry and gifted back to the University of Washington, where they remain. Total support for the project was $150,000.
Global accounting firm Moss Adams provided advisory services on the Aureus Earth transaction process as part of the pilot. Moss Adams is a leader in sustainability services, which encompass ESG goal setting, assurance and reporting.
Aureus Earth is currently engaged with more than 15 mass timber building projects in the United States at various stages in the design and construction process. Aureus Earth’s successful inaugural pilot will help the company scale its programs and accelerate the adoption of carbon-positive building practices.
About Aureus Earth
Aureus Earth is accelerating decarbonization in the construction industry by reducing the existing green premium between the cost of traditional building materials and low-carbon and carbon-storing alternatives. The company offers a groundbreaking portfolio of financial instruments that incentivizes the use of climate-positive building materials in large-scale commercial, institutional, and residential construction. Together with our industry partners, Aureus Earth creates and monetizes building-based carbon offsets for use in carbon offsetting or carbon insetting programs. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Aureus Earth is led by a multidisciplinary team of experts in engineering, materials science, resource development, and corporate strategy consulting. To learn more, visit https://aureusearth.com.
About UW Foster School of Business
Founded in 1917, the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington Seattle offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as executive education programs. Annual enrollment is approximately 3,500 students and the school has an alumni population of more than 60,000. The Foster School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. For more information, visit https://foster.uw.edu/.
About Moss Adams
With more than 3,800 professionals across 30-plus locations in the West and beyond, Moss Adams provides the world’s most innovative companies with specialized accounting, consulting and wealth management services to help them embrace emerging opportunities. To learn more, visit: https://mossadams.com.