A new skyscraper project has emerged that will not only be made of green materials to reduce the carbon footprint of construction, but will also be able to capture CO2 from the air.

Renowned architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has unveiled a design for a new skyscraper that can capture carbon and actually purify the air around buildings. The Urban Sequoia concept was created to commemorate the recent UN climate change conference COP26 in Scotland.

The design of the skyscraper provides for a large percentage of glazing and greenery. It is planned that it will be created from environmentally friendly materials – hemp concrete, wood and bio-concrete. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of construction by 50% compared to traditional materials such as concrete and steel.

The Urban Sequoia skyscraper will capture up to 1,000 tons of carbon per year – the equivalent of 48,500 trees “working”. The buildings will be equipped with integrated carbon capture technology. In the future, whole “forests” of such skyscrapers can change the air in cities.

The trapped carbon can be used in a variety of industrial applications, completing the carbon cycle and creating the basis for a new method of removing it from the air, the authors of the project note. With integrated biomass and algae, facades can turn a building into a biofuel source for heating systems, cars and even airplanes. It is estimated that global construction today accounts for nearly 40% of all CO₂ emissions in the world.