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

CNN Business

Three years ago, a hurricane It devastated the Bahamas, claiming dozens of lives. Today the country is building what it claims is the world’s first carbon-negative housing community to reduce the risk of future climate disasters and ease the housing shortage caused by storms.

Former Los Angeles Lakers player Rick Fox is the lynchpin of the new housing project. The former basketball player and Bahamian national was inspired to take action after witnessing the devastation. Hurricane Dorian In 2019, Fox teamed up with architect Sam Marshall, whose Malibu home was severely damaged in the 2018 wildfires, to develop Partanna, a building material that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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

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Partanna Home prototype built adjacent to Partanna's building materials factory in Bacardi, Bahamas.

“Innovation and new technology 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 Bahamian government and Partanna Bahamas on Wednesday at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

As a country on the front lines of the climate crisis, The Bahamas understands it’s “time is up,” Fox told CNN Business. “They don’t have time to wait for someone to save them,” he added.

“Technology can turn the tide, and we at Partanna have developed a solution that can change how the world is built,” Fox said.

Partanna consists of natural and recycled ingredients, including steel slag, a byproduct of steelmaking, and brine from desalination. It does not contain resins and plastics and avoids the pollution associated with cement production, which accounts for 4%-8% of global carbon emissions from human activities.

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The use of brine, at the same time, helps solve the desalination industry’s growing waste problem by preventing the toxic solution from being dumped back into the sea.

Almost all buildings absorb carbon dioxide naturally through a process called carbonation – where the CO2 in the air reacts with the minerals in the concrete – But Partanna says its homes remove carbon from the atmosphere very quickly because of the density of the material.

The material emits almost no carbon during manufacture.

1,250 Sq Ft Partanna Home The company says it contributes a “negligible amount” of CO2 during production, while removing 22.5 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere after production, making it “completely carbon negative over the product’s lifecycle”.

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In comparison, a typical cement home of the same size typically produces 70.2 tons of CO2 during production.

The use of saltwater means that partanna houses are resistant to damage from seawater, making them ideal for residents of small island nations such as the Bahamas. That will make it easier for homeowners to get insurance.

Carbon credits generated from each home will be traded and used to finance various social impact initiatives, including promoting home ownership among low-income families.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the losses suffered by Rick Fox and Sam Marshall as a result of Hurricane Dorian and the wildfires.


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