Facade Tectonics SKINS

SKINS: March 2023

Curb Your Carbon, Knave!

A question for architects and the building industry: Can our cities be part of the solution to the challenges facing humanity, or are they intrinsically and inevitably a big part of the problem? To move beyond the latter demands nothing less than a radical shift in the way we think about buildings. Let’s pull on this thread for a minute.

Editor’s note: If nothing else, please read Drew Shula’s original article for this issue of SKINS—the first feature and further discussed here—and buy the best quality carbon credits you can find to offset your carbon footprint!

Traveling again? Yeah, the return to normal has been accelerating. Both to record carbon emissions as well as taking to the skies. According to the World Economic Forum, global airline capacity is approaching 2019 levels, especially in North America. My personal carbon footprint is embarrassing. Do you know your carbon footprint? If you haven’t used one of the online footprint calculators, I highly recommend it. It’s likely to provide some surprises and perhaps deeper insight into the wicked problem of sustainability. I always include an exercise that involves the calculation of their personal carbon footprint to my students. After all, we are the problem, our patterns of consumption, including how we “consume” buildings. (Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Check this out.)

Read more from Mic>

"no" symbol over oil pump


Stop F*cking Around – Build Our Zero Carbon Economy Now

To avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis, we urgently need to reduce carbon emissions now. But that's not enough! This original article for SKINS by Drew Shula is a veritable manifesto on the why and how of climate action for all of us.

must read!

hand holding net zero bubble

Carbon footprint

Carbon offsets: The case for...

Global investments in protecting the climate represent a mere 3% of global finance. Bronson Griscom makes a compelling case for carbon offsets as a essential tool to prevent catastrophic climate change within the next 10 years.


greenwashing graphic

Carbon footprint

Carbon offsets: The case against…

The negative impact of greenwashing is discussed in this investigation revealing that some 90% of forest carbon offsets issued by the world’s largest certifier, Vera, are worthless and could potentially exacerbate global heating.


man gazing over water at city skyline in the distance - bleak and forlorn

Carbon footprint

Carbon offsets: A cautionary tale

UNEP makes the point that the purchase of carbon credits is not intended to enable business as usual. Eliminating the use of fossil fuels and other carbon emission reduction practices are a priority over offsets.


there's no planet B plackard

Carbon footprint

Carbon offsets: US carbon offset plan meets skepticism at COP27

The U.S. has established itself as a sideliner in collective global action against climate change. The plan presented at the COP27 Climate Summit proposes that corporations fund renewable energy projects in developing countries by purchasing carbon offsets.


hand holding planet earth, scorched on one side, blue and beautiful on the other

Climate crisis

Dire straits: 2023 IPCC report on climate change released

This summary (with infographics) of the newly released IPCC report includes 10 big findings. And guess what, retrofitting and decarbonizing buildings is among them, as is decarbonizing cement and steel. Scroll through the report to see what else.

must scan!

planet earth with footprint on it

Carbon footprint

Big steps: Know your carbon footprint!

Do you know your personal carbon footprint? You should. We are the problem! Corrective action against climate change demands lifestyle change for all of us. Understand how your patterns of consumption are contributing to this existential threat to all humanity.


green footprint

Carbon footprint

Small steps: Reduce your carbon footprint!

You know the problem, right? You are committed to doing your part in response to the climate crisis, right? Then you certainly should be an FTI member! Find more important ideas for reducing your carbon footprint here. It all starts with you!

act now!

fantastical city skyline


The architecture dialogue: Sustainababble and ‘Orwellian Newspeak’

“... our craft ends up being on the wrong side of history: complicit in escalating house prices, an integral part of the largest CO2-emitting industry, oblivious to the political machinations it helps perpetuate.” - Reinier de Graaf in Dezeen


planet of buildings


Sustainable outcomes: The building Sector continues to lag

Building industry thought leader, Helen Sanders, concurs with the assessment of the United Nations Environmental Programme report that the building sector is “not making the deep systemic changes needed to get on [the path to decarbonization].”


Industry Calendar

June 5

Facade Tectonics Forum: NYC

New York, United States

Learn More

September 5-7

Building Innovation 2023 - Call for Abstracts!

Washington, DC, USA

Call for Abstracts - more info here

September 13-14

Net Zero 2023 Conference

Los Angeles, USA

Celebrating our 10th anniversary!

October 12

Facade Tectonics Forum: LA

Los Angeles, United States

Learn More

Previously Featured

Vitruvian Honors & Awards

Stop F*cking Around – Build Our Zero Carbon Economy Now

To avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis, we urgently need to reduce carbon emissions now. But that's not enough! This original article for SKINS by Drew Shula is a veritable manifesto on the why and how of climate action for all of us.

Must Read!

Digital fabrication

Printed Facades? Cases of Additive Manufacturing in the Building Envelope

This paper, written by a team at the Technical University at Darmstadt, uses examples of 3D printed structural glass, reinforced thin-sheet façade panels, and nesting bricks that can be integrated directly into facades to support work successful industrial applications of additive manufacturing in the building sector.

Read More


Thermal Bridging and Building Facades

Ivan Lee, a Building Science Consultant at Morrison Hershfield, recognizes the importance of mitigating thermal bridging to meet low energy targets for buildings.

read on!

Net-zero carbon

Toward Net Zero Enclosures

Gensler architects Jessica Santonastaso and Alan Estabrook survey existing research on embodied carbon in exterior wall assemblies and the availability of product declarations for relevant materials.

Read More

Net-zero carbon

Net Zero Tower

John Neary describes a collaborative Advanced design Studio at City Tech that involved Permasteelisa, Skanska and Onyx Solar, with links to the published student works.

Read More

Organizational Members of the Facade Tectonics Institute


Kuraray, Schüco USA


Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Permasteelisa Group, seele, TriPyramid Structures


Dow, Finishing Contractors Association, Lerch Bates, Technoform North America, Valmont Structures, Vitro Architectural Glass, WRNS Studio, W&W Glass


Antamex Industries, Heintges, Kreysler & Associates, MdeAS Architects, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, Roschmann Steel & Glass Constructions, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, SOCOTEC, Inc., The Architect's Newspaper, The Miller Hull Partnership, The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York

Academics / Nonprofits

Aarhus University, Denmark, IIBEC, National Fenestration Rating Council, Rainscreen Association in North America, Universidad de Concepción, University of Utah, Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association