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Revolution in the Housing Market: Financing for CO2 Storage Makes Its Debut

Ballast Nedam Development and Climate Cleanup Foundation jointly open the international
market for CO2 storage in construction and real estate projects.

Ballast Nedam Development is taking the step as the first construction and development company to market CO2 storage in its housing projects, a historic moment for the real estate and construction sector. The company is doing this with help from the Climate Cleanup foundation. The first project the company announced today is the “Natuurhuis,” a climate-positive project: it stores more CO2 than the entire construction process emits.

Fighting climate change by building
Ballast Nedam Development, in partnership with Climate Cleanup Foundation, took the first step today to financially reward CO2 storage in its housing projects. The projects use bio-based building materials such as wood, hemp, and straw. In the growth phase, these crops take CO2 from the air and, once processed into building materials, they store that CO2 for more than 100 years. By attaching a monetary value to this CO2 storage, climate-positive building projects can compete with projects that use polluting materials such as concrete and steel. In this way, more demand for biobased materials is created, allowing the biobased industry to scale up. This will transition the entire construction industry, which currently accounts for 11% of global CO2 emissions, to one that will remove tons of CO2 from the air each year. Thus, building homes can combat climate change.

Prevent CO2-lockdown
Building enough housing within the limits of the planet: this is the challenge that will determine the future of the construction industry. If we continue building at the same pace, the CO2 budget for Dutch construction will run out as early as 2027.1 At that point, the construction industry could grind to a halt, similar to what happened during the nitrogen crisis. The construction and real estate sector must prevent this by doing more than just reducing emissions: climate-positive construction will become the new norm. Representing 13% of the Dutch economy, the construction and real estate sector is the perfect engine to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store it for a long time in biobased building materials. These can also be grown in the Netherlands. In this way, farmers and builders work together towards a positive climate impact.

CO2 storage calculation
In order to put bio-based building on the map as a reliable and versatile climate solution, Ballast Nedam Development is participating in a Climate Cleanup Foundation research project. Through this path, the amount of CO2 stored in bio-based buildings is determined, certified, and financially valued on the basis of European and international guidelines2. That CO2 is then guaranteed to be stored in biobased materials for more than 100 years. Only building projects with a positive impact on biodiversity, health and circularity can obtain a certificate for CO2 storage and earn money from it. The money is made by selling (partial) certificates to companies and governments that want to invest in nature-friendly, long-term CO2 storage, for example, to offset their own unavoidable CO2 emissions. When organizations buy the stored CO2, it becomes registered in their name and they cannot resell it. All transactions are recorded in a public registry so that every euro actually goes to stored CO2.

Pre-sale started
Starting Wednesday, Dec. 6, anyone – government, company or individual – can register for the pre-sale of CO2 storage in Ballast Nedam Development’s housing projects. More information can be found at https://www.constructionstoredcarbon.org.

Are you a construction or real estate company that also wants to determine and value your CO2 storage? Join Climate Cleanup’s initiative: https://www.constructionstoredcarbon.org.

Climate Cleanup and Ballast Nedam Development representatives ring in a new era for building a greener future through construction stored carbon

Onno Dwars, CEO Ballast Nedam Development: “A financial incentive for CO2 storage may well
revolutionize the construction and real estate sector. The sector will become a CO2 vacuum cleaner, so to speak, for Dutch society.”

Rosa Bos, project developer Ballast Nedam Development: “With current techniques, we can build with wood and other natural materials without negatively affecting the comfort or lifespan of buildings. Even better, biobased buildings have a healthier indoor climate and store CO2.”

Sven Jense, Director Climate Cleanup Foundation: “Capturing CO2 in biobased buildings not only reduces CO2 in the air, but also displaces the use of concrete and steel, materials with extremely high emissions. In this way, we are literally building a future for ourselves and our children.”

Sacha Brons, Construction Stored Carbon project leader at Climate Cleanup Foundation: “Farmers and builders can become our new climate heroes by setting up biobased building chains together, but one element is missing: transition financing. Using our carbon certificates, governments, financial institutions and companies can now provide that financing.”

1 See the April 2023 report ‘Woningbouw binnen planetaire grenzen’.
2 Important are the European Carbon Removal Certification Framework and the carbon market standard ICROA.