Carbon Neutral CCC

Is CCC Carbon Neutral?
What does Carbon Neutrality mean? Does our management plan demonstrate that
for the Carbon released due to our activities of building and operating that we have
the capacity to hold an equal amount on the property? Are we accountable for our
actions on that metric?
Since we started building Cottonwood Creek Community [CCC] in 1991,we have
observed our impact on the environment. Our building plans, land use and
landscaping has been done carefully to pay attention and accommodate the use of
resources. Each decision we have made has been to reduce the impact of our
activities on the environment!
Thirty years ago [CO2 global tally at 350 ppm] there was not much concern for the
accumulation of carbon dioxide [C02] in the atmosphere or in the plants and soils.
At 2428 Ymir Road we strived to keep a tally of the C02 we released due to our
activity and then calculate what we could store on site. First we set aside a Reparian
Eco. Zone habitat, 35 feet wide along Cottonwood Creek, the length of the property.
Then we began to keep track of how much impact our construction and operations
would have on the present global C02 tally [today at 420 ppm and still counting] and
thus the local community.
We are investing for what is good for People and the Earth. We are:

  • cause based
  • socially responsible
  • sustainable
    I. The tasks we have undertaken:
  1. We remodeled the original [1940] residence on the property. It takes
    approximately 20 trees [assumed to be each 30 years old] to construct a
    1200 square foot house. We did not destroy the structure thus maintaining
    [20 trees x 1400 lbs CO2 per tree] = 28,000 pounds [lbs] of saved [STORED]
    sequestered C02, or 3.9 tons of Carbon, plus maintaining the metal roof [a
    labour saving].
  2. We paid attention to the amount of concrete used for:
    a] the pouring of the basement for the Tower … 45 cubic yards
    b] the Sewage Treatment tank for 9 residential units … 25 cubic yards
    c] the Barrier Free access ramp … 5 cubic yards
    All the cement usage was required by code.
    These improvements totaled an estimated 75 cubic yard of concrete.

The Facts about the TASKS
The amount of CO2 that was released into the atmosphere during the manufacturing
of this concrete can be calculated as follows.
Fact 1. The production of CEMENT contributed 400 pounds of CO2 per cubic yard
of cement [with a cubic yard of cement weighting 2538 lbs.].
Fact 2. The CO2 factor for the production of 1 cubic yard of CONCRETE [3800 lbs]

  • cement which is 10% of the mix approximately, with other materials making up
    the 90%. The other ingredients require very low energy to mine and process in
    comparison to the cement.
  • every cubic yard of concrete requires 380 lbs of cement
    -every 380 lbs of cement is 15% of a cubic yard of cement
    -to find the CO2 in a cubic yard of cement is 15% of 400 lbs which equals 60lbs of
    CO2/cubic yard for the cubic yard of concrete mix
    Thus with the cement in the material mix of 1 cubic yard of concrete [3800 lbs] this
    yields 60 lbs of CO2/cubic yard contributed into the atmosphere [plus site prep, and
    transport which is minimal].
    The basement for the Tower, the Sewage Treatment tank and the Barrier Free Ramp
    resulted in the use of 75 cubic yards of concrete. At 60 lbs CO2 per yard [75 x60]
    yields 4500 lbs of CO2 released into the atmosphere, for the completion of the
    construction of the required finishing components for CCC. [CO2 released into the
    atmosphere due to aging is not considered here].
    Total: 4,500 lbs CO2 released
  1. Asphalt for the drive way; contributes ½ the CO2 that concrete yields per
    square foot. We have 3100 sq. ft of pavement [1/2 of which was required by
    code], there are 108 sq. ft. per cubic yard of concrete.; or a contribution of
    60lbs of CO2 per sq yd or .6 lb per sq ft. of driveway. Thus 3100 sq ft x 6 lbs
    per sq. ft =1,870 lbs of CO2 [one ton].
    Total 1,870 lbs CO2 released
  2. The use of Propane at CCC.
    Further to construction emissions is the use of Propane for the annual space
    and water heating plus cooking for one 270 sq. ft. Residential Unit. [A Tiny
    Fact 1. Propane gives off clean CO2!
    A] 1 kg propane yields 3 kg of CO2

B] 1 lb. propane yields 13 lbs of CO2
C] 1 lb of propane yields 3 lbs of water [required ventilation reduces humidity build
up and oxygen depletion]
Fact 2. Refilling propane tanks requires gasoline at a CO2 yield of 19 lbs per gallon.
NOTE This Unit uses an approximate average of 100 lbs per month annually
which is not part of CCC physical plant or operations.
Thus 1200 lbs of propane times 13 lbs CO2 per lbs burnt, releases a yield of 15,600
lbs. of CO2/year…the same amount released as to manufacture a mid sized car!
Total 15,600 lbs CO2

II Why do we maintain the Reparian Eco Zone along the creek? For Practical
First, the plant and animal habitat, not to mention the feeling of beauty.
Second, to support the healthy growth of the volunteer trees and the resulting
sequestering of CO2 that supports life along the creek banks. [There is an inventory
of the count by species and sizes]. This is a knowledgeable approach to thinking
about an intentional operation.
Third, to consider this Zone a strip of timberland/woodlot for economic reasons. Do
we apply our will to preserve and improve this strip of land?

  • lumber always keeps up with inflation
    -for the appreciation of the soil underlying the canopy plus creek bank stabilization.
    We have not lost any bank soil or rocks for thirty years. [Check out the Toyota sales
    lot creek bank for asphalt erosion by creek water flow]
    -wood is sold by the ton
    — a pine [chosen as the data is available] with a 6 inch Diameter at Breast Height
    [DBH] sells for $9.00 /ton. [one 50 foot pine + 1 ton approximately]
    — @ 12 inch DBH this tree sells for $17/ton with increasing weight
    — @ 14 inches DBH [saw timber] this tree sells for $25/ton with increasing weight
    PRICES need frequent review for market conditions! This crop is RENEWABLE.

III Sewage Treatment Plant operation and emission of CO2
Wastewater [containing human waste, detergents, {pharmaceuticals and
cosmeticsrequested to not be included} ] requires biological metabolism [using
plastic bio-filters] by the oxidation of organic carbons leading to direct CO2 release
[not to mention methane and nitric-oxide]. By this aerobic bio-augmentation there
is released .2 kg CO2/m3 of wastewater. There is no treatment of the sludge.
[.2 kg CO2/m3 is not a large factor in the CCC Carbon footprint]

IV Now back to CO2 sequestering using timber! This refers to the CO2 held by
every ton of wood cellulose grown.

  • 1 kg of dried wood yields 1.7 kg of CO2
  • 1 kg of dried wood yields .4 kg of captured CARBON
  • for every ton of Carbon atoms in the wood, you will have stored 3.6 tons of CO2.
    Wood is the only construction material that does not give off CO2 during production.
    -why use the pine tree? The data is available, pines can mature in 30 years [a
    guesstimate for the Nelson area]
    -a pine is faster growing than a hardwood maple, think a factor of 2.
  • a pine has approximately the same growth rate as the Western Red Cedar
  • think of our woodlot tree sizes of 30 years ago.
  • what has our woodlot contributed?….a wildlife corridor and biodiversity
  • what has our woodlot sequestered?
  • gravel for the parking lots contributes a negligible amount of CO2
  • the 4 tower Units were built to 2008 building code. They would represent a
    modest home and family of two. Each Unit with its life style, could contribute 20
    tons of CO2/yr. which is the responsibility of the Resident.
  • given one Pacific N.W. conifer can capture 13 tons of Carbon per 100 years or for
    ease of understanding, .13 tons /year
  • there can be 73 trees growing per forest acre


  • the CCC woodlot of 1/10 of an acre or 7 trees could capture 13 tons x 7 trees = 91
    tons of carbon in 100 years
  • 1 ton of Carbon = 3.6 tons of Carbon Dioxide [the conversion factor]; thus from
    above….Using 7 trees of thirty years
    91tons of C x 3.6 = 328 tons of CO2 in 100 years, or 164 tons in 50 years, or 5 tons
    in 10 years or ½ ton in 1 year
    -our woodlot using 7 trees can CAPTURE from one pine, ½ ton of CO2 per year.

V Now back to further CO2 Sequestering considerations:
Can a 50 ft., 30 years old living pine tree weighting 2000 lbs [wet weight] store
1400 lbs of CO2?
-wet weight x .72% = dry weight
2000 lbs x.72% = 1400 lbs of cellulose [CO2]

  • Conversion factor to Carbon storage if needed.
    -a pine of 1400 lbs CO2 divided by 3.6 (carbon factor)= 390 lbs of Carbon stored for
    30 years or 13 lbs of Carbon per year and less when juvenile.

VI Is our Reparian Zone a Carbon sink?

  • through growth it absorbs more than it releases, that is a given
  • CCC’s required construction yielded 4500lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere due to
    manufacturing [we are not accounting for the trace amounts of CO2 given off due to
  • asphalt paving contributed 1870 lbs of CO2 during construction
    Using the one pine data approach, we can show that our ‘woodlot’ approach can
    absorb 1400 lbs of CO2 over a 30 years growing season with one tree.
    Having a total of 6370 lbs of CO2 to be sequestered: 1400 lbs x 5 trees = 7,000 lbs of
    CO2 stored over thirty years
    This finding is satisfactory from an environmental point of view. We have used 5 of
    the 7 trees to reach 100% storage of construction CO2 over 30 years.

A] To summarize the construction calculation results for Carbon;
To find the Carbon value: 1 ton of C = 3.6 tons of CO2

  • 3.6 tons CO2 [7200lbs] = 1 ton of C.
    Then 6400 lbs CO2 divided by 3.6 = 1.7 tons of Carbon produced during the creation
    of cement for our development.
    YES our woodlot has stored the CO2/C pollution from the construction. This
    confirms our valuation of the Reparian Zone. CCC is at the break point this year on
    the construction pollution; when we have used 5 trees for 30 years. We have 7 trees
    in our timber cruising calculation evaluation. Thus our 7 woodlot trees in one year
    can store 1.7 tons of Carbon!
    B] Do we consider the combustion of Propane and the resulting CO2 contribution to
    the environment by one Unit?
    No, each unit has it own merits that the Residents’ need to consider. Yet in the
    curious nature of inquiry, this unit uses approximately 100 lbs of propane per
    month annually. Or 1200 lbs per year plus refill vehicle fuel. This propane usage
    contributes [from above] 1200 lbs x 13 lbs of CO2 = 15,600 of CO2 per year. The CO2
    to C ratio is 3.6 : 1. So 15,600 lbs of CO2 divided by 3.6 = 4330 lbs of C or 2 tons of
    Carbon per year.
    This Carbon load is close to the woodlot capacity of 1.7 tons of Carbon sequestered.
    Do we study the electrical component of the whole complex? Or separate the CCC
    physical plant CO2 production from operations from the carbon production of
    residential units?
    The CCC Physical plant operation can be examined for CO2 generation. Each
    residential unit stands apart.

VII Other sites of Carbon generation and storage:

  • electricity used is generated by water power. Dam construction depreciation could
    be considered
  • there are 8 units, each can account for lumber/CO2 Storage for15 trees each, plus
    one metallic Tiny Home [motor home]
  • sewage treatment plant Releases CO2
    -composting and cover crops improve Carbon Storage down to a depth of 6ft.

-we presently use for Storage, 2 tons of wood chips brought on to the property per
year for surface mulch and pathways, for moisture and soil care
-the open fire pit for recreational in season burning of wood is a carbon Release
activity [this activity space could be used to create charcoal which is 95% Carbon
and would weigh 25% of the dry wood weight, this material could be used for
incorporating into the soil 10 inches deep] the ashes [minerals] go to the compost
-the incinerator is a carbon Release activity and when appropriate materials are
used for fuel, the ashes provide mineral components for the soil, enlivened through
the compost pile activity
-crops grown and harvested contribute to the development of the soil which Stores
and supports organic carbon to the depth of 6 ft. . [Alfalfa root systems go to 15 ft.,
root crowns still show traces left in the lawns where many grew at one time before
the lawn mowing practice] This results in a healthy microbe population with the
resulting better foods

  • our lawn areas have a three month active growing season, which can contribute to
    Storage of 25 mg of Carbon in the soil per year
  • the Recycle Room is a Saver, a Storage activity
  • the Green Bin by Waste Management Removes black-bagged materials from the
    site deposited by the Residents. There is data available on the CO2 content of this
    Resident activity from W. M.
  • the clothes line structure is provided for sun drying….If the Laundry room dryer
    [at a cost of $1.00 per load] is SLIGHTLY negetive due to Hydro electricity
    generation then the clothes line must be POSITIVE , at the least CO2 Neutral
  • the Geothermal heating and cooling system yet to be connected with the
    geothermal field, removes geo-warmth for winter heating from the ground, this
    operation will be a net POSITIVE in both seasons.
  • soon we will have an Electric Car Charging station for resident needs.
    The S’s and P’s out number the R’s with one N!
    Whether it is Carbon or Carbon dioxide, we are all on the same molecular road to
    planning and building storage for the future.
    The CCC Reparian Eco. Zone can be considered effective in the storage of Carbon
    products that result from sustainable activities on our ¾ acre. This small eco. zone
    represents what larger producers of CO2 can plan to replicate.
    Let’s keep coal in the ground till new technologies secure the Carbon.

Let’s keep oil in the hole till we can design safe and recyclable materials.
Yet we need to contend with Carbon Dioxide and Methane [20 x more troublesome
than CO2] released from warming tundra, land clearing and forest fires, insect and
livestock digestive activity, death and decay, unbalanced logging and ecosystem
decline due to droughts and human activities.
CCC has been planned to do its part! We are Carbon Neutral!
At CCC we encompass many factors relating to climate care, biodiversity, energy
efficiency, people diversity, and community relations.

Barrow Hutchison B.Sc. Agric. November 2021
For 30 years

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