• Amy Laskowski

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    Photo of Amy Laskowski. A white woman with long brown hair pulled into a half up, half down style and wearing a burgundy top, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Amy Laskowski is a senior writer at Boston University. She is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU and helps manage and edit the work of BU Today’s interns. She did her undergrad at Syracuse University and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. Profile

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There are 10 comments on Update on BU’s Center for Computing & Data Sciences

  1. Audacious, visionary. Function more important than form. Game changer in more ways than one. Congratulations to the administration and Trustees.

  2. Tell us more about #3 “The embodied carbon concrete mix also prevented more than 700 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being emitted into the atmosphere.”

    Are the concrete companies really using one of the advanced carbon
    sequestration processes to inject CO2 into the manufacture of

    Where did they get the CO2 from? Whats the process of injecting the
    CO2 into the concrete? Whats the energy and CO2 balance for making
    this concrete?

    Who are the concrete companies that are able to follow this advanced

    Can you place this in some sort of context: ie how many tons of CO2 are used to build the building [including the steel & concrete]?
    How does it compare to BU’s current daily/yearly emissions?

    This could be huge….but really depends on the details.

    1. Hello. I work for LeMessurier, the structural engineers for the project and have a few responses to the questions.

      The technique of injecting recycled CO2, or sometimes referred to as Carbon Mineralization, was not used on this project. Instead we focused on replacing the portland cement of the concrete mixes.

      The production of portland cement is by far the greatest contributor to the embodied carbon, or global warming potential, of structural concrete. Its embodied carbon comes from fossil-fuel based energy sources to produce the tremendous heat required as well as an off gassing of CO2 when the base limestone material is broken down to form, eventually, portland cement. Studies have shown the production of portland cement is responsible for 7%-10% of the world’s total CO2 emissions therefore its critically important to find ways to reduce that constituent material of concrete. The CO2 avoidance was achieved in two ways:

      1) Portland Cement Content: By reducing the amount of portland cement typically used in the concrete mixes and replacing it with other cementitious materials that achieve similar binding properties as portland cement.

      2) Longer Cure Times: This project utilized high cement replacement mixes which required additional consideration of concrete placement schedules, form removal, workability, etc. above and beyond a typical project. The longer cure times associated with higher cement replacement mixes yielded higher long term strength gain.

      I should also note, that at the time of article publication, the value of CO2-equivalent was approximately 700 tons avoided, however, with the final procured concrete mixes the reduction is closer to 2,000tons.

      Utilizing a life-cycle assessment (LCA) technique the façade, structural steel, structural concrete, and structural concrete reinforcement equate to approximately 13,000 tonCO2-equivalent.

      I hope this helps.

  3. Ditto Michael Gevelber’s comment. I’d love to know how the CO2 was sequestered. Or what that even means.

    Maybe a wee follow up to the story?

  4. Why is BU spending so much money on buildings while simultaneously slashing department budgets due to COVID revenue loss. We are losing programs left and right due to budget cuts. Many of us are in fear of losing our jobs because of what they tell us, yet the budget allows for this? Shouldn’t they pause these projects and make sure there are faculty left to work in the buildings when this pandemic is over?

  5. FEARFUL FACULTY MEMBER makes a good point. As an alumnus, I would rather see my donations go to saving departmentstheir budgets, and jobs. My medical school has done just that and downsized the buildings they use and renegotiated leases to save jobs. Building a multimillion dollar Center for Computing & Data Services seems irresponsible and not the way I want my donations spent presently.

    1. So that’s the building where construction begins well before dawn, and wakes up my daughter who has been up late working on her engineering homework. It has been profoundly disruptive to her experience at BU.

      She asks the same question as FEARFUL FACULTY MEMBER.

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