A former NBA champion is changing ‘how the world builds’ to fight the climate crisis

CNN Business

A hurricane three years ago ravaged the Bahamas and claimed dozens of lives. Today, the country is building what it claims is the world’s first zero-carbon housing community to reduce the likelihood of future climate disasters and ease the storm-induced housing shortage.

Rick Fox, former Los Angeles Lakers player, is the leader of the new housing project. The former basketball player and Bahamian was motivated to take action after seeing the destruction he caused Hurricane Dorian in 2019 Fox collaborated with architect Sam Marshall, whose house in Malibu in 2018. ravaged by wildfires to create Partanna, a building material that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The technology is being tested in the Bahamas, where Fox’s company, Partanna Bahamas, is working with the government to develop 1,000 hurricane-resistant homes, including single-family homes and condos. The first 30 units will be delivered next year to the Abaco Islands, which were hit hardest by Dorian.

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Prototype Partanna House built next to the Partanna building materials factory in Bacardi, Bahamas.

“Innovation and new technologies will play a critical role in avoiding the worst climate scenarios,” Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said in a statement. He will officially announce the partnership between the Government of the Bahamas and Partanna Bahamas at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Wednesday.

As a country at the forefront of the climate crisis, The Bahamas understands that this is “not the time,” Fox told CNN Business. “They don’t have time to wait for someone to save them,” he added.

“Technology can turn the tide, and at Partanna we’ve created a solution that can change the world,” said Fox.

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Partanna consists of natural and recycled ingredients, including steel slag, a byproduct of steelmaking and desalination brine. It is resin- and plastic-free and avoids the pollution associated with cement production, which accounts for around 4-8% of global human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.

Meanwhile, using brine helps solve the desalination industry’s growing waste problem by preventing the toxic solution from being dumped back into the ocean.

Almost all buildings absorb carbon dioxide naturally through a process called carbonation, where CO2 in the air reacts with minerals in the concrete. but Partanna says her house removes carbon from the atmosphere much faster because of the density of the material.

The material also emits almost no carbon during production.

The 1,250-square-foot Partanna home will According to the company, there is a “negligible” amount of CO2 emitted during production, and 22.5 tonnes of CO2 are removed from the atmosphere after production, making the product “totally carbon negative over the life cycle of the product”.

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In comparison, a standard cement house of the same size typically emits 70.2 tonnes of CO2 during production.

The salt water means Partanna homes are also resistant to seawater corrosion, making them perfect for small island nations like the Bahamas. This can make it easier for homeowners to insure.

Carbon credits generated from each home will be traded and used to fund a variety of social impact initiatives, including promoting home ownership for low-income families.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Rick Fox and Sam Marshall’s losses from Hurricane Dorian and wildfires.


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