Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in an emergency global teach-in put together by Architecture 2030. In summary, there were 3 keynote speakers and a moderator that called for the stabilization of building emissions through education and implementation by design educators and professionals.
“…Seventy-six percent (76%) of the energy produced by these plants will go to operate buildings. As Architecture 2030 has shown, buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all energy consumption and GHG emissions annually; globally the percentage is even greater.”
Our continued economic growth (building extravaganza) only serves to exasperate the environmental issues of converging Peak Oil and Global Warming. Perhaps you don’t believe in either of those things and you are unconvinced that we need to change our ways. I ask you to consider the facts that many traditionally constructed buildings pollute the air we breath, displace valuable species, alter entire ecosystems, and have the power to divide or unite a community. In addition, building or renovating a home to be “green” improves air quality, is sensitive to the environment, saves energy costs, adds value to your home and honors the lifestyle of the occupants. So, even if PO and GW prove to be bunk, it would be hard to argue that living in an unhealthy (unhealthy for occupants, environment, economy and society) home is the preferable condition to not. No?
Having said all that, I believe it goes without saying that I’m in favor of reducing emissions, energy use, and embodied energy in our built environments. Um, that’s what this site is about after all…sustainability. As a conscientious residential designer, I have agreed to adopt the 2030 challenge, which asks the global architectural design community to strive to meet these targets (quoted from 2010imperative.org):
- That all new buildings, developments and major renovations be designed to meet a fossil fuel, greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 50% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.
- That at a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area be renovated annually to meet a fossil-fuel, greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting, energy-consumption performance standard of 50% of the regional (or country) average for that building type (50% of the regional average through innovative design strategies, the application of renewable technologies and/or the purchase – 20% maximum – of renewable energy).
- That the fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings be increased to:
- 60% in 2010
70% in 2015
80% in 2020
90% in 2025
Carbon-neutral by 2030 (using no fossil-fuel GHG-emitting energy to operate)
- 60% in 2010
We know these targets are readily achievable and that most developments and buildings can be designed to use only a small amount of energy at little or no additional cost through proper planning, siting, building form, glass properties and location, material selection and by incorporating natural heating, cooling, ventilation, and day-lighting strategies. The additional energy a development or building would then need to maintain comfort and operate equipment can be supplied by renewable sources such as solar (photovoltaics, hot water heating, etc.), wind, biomass and other viable carbon-free sources.
To meet The 2030 °Challenge, we must not only design high-performance and carbon-neutral buildings and developments, but also advocate for incentives and actions that will ensure that all buildings and developments meet these targets as well.
What this mean for me or to you is that I will work with my clients to ensure that they are educated as to what their options are in terms of building green, so that together we may meet these target goals. Most of my current projects are currently moving in this direction. Some of those homes will meet the certification requirements for the FGBC and others are making smaller steps to reduce their environmental impact. All levels of effort are important and collectively make a significant difference. Wouldn’t it just be a perfect setting if we could live near the worlds most beautiful beaches AND do it with environmental consciousness?
posted by CFH