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Timber or Steel? Study Helps Builders Reduce Carbon Footprint of Truss Structures

By MIT News

December 2, 2021

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Architects and engineers could design truss structures that minimize embodied carbon by using computational tools developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers.

The system applies the technique of topology optimization, which permits the incorporation of basic parameters like the amount of supported load and structural dimensions, and can feed into designs optimized for different properties, including global warming impact.

The tools may be used either in the early planning stages of a structure, or in the final stages.

The researchers have formulated a proposal for reengineering trusses using these optimization tools, and demonstrated significant savings in embodied greenhouse gas emissions were possible without any loss of performance.

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