The Architecture 2030 Challenge
on the Architecture 2030 web site tell story.
First the stakes:
Data from the US Energy Information Administration illustrates that buildings are responsible for almost half (48%) of all energy consumption and GHG emissions annually; globally the percentage is even greater.
Then the opportunity:
Herein lies the hope. By the year 2035, approximately three-quarters (75%) of the built environment will be either new or renovated.
This transformation over the next 30 years represents a historic opportunity for the architecture and building community to avoid dangerous climate change.
And lastly the solution: by using innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and purchasing clean energy, the sector can immediately cut 50% of the energy newly renovated or constructed buildings use.
Mazria has also challenged architects and builders to increase the energy cut by 10% every five years, starting in 2010, so that by 2030, all new construction will be carbon-neutral. Buildings would no longer require fossil-fuels to operate. It's a project worthy of Brunelleschi.
The building industry is responding and has taken a first major step: collaborative against which to measure progress. Who has signed on? The key professional organizations in the sector:
Supported by representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy, they agreed to use 2003 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) as a common starting point (benchmark) and made a commitment to design net zero energy buildings.
At the same time, the Architecture 2030 Challenge is being supported by a growing roster of governmental bodies and non-profits interested in solving climate:
The US Conference of Mayors (USCM)
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
Royal Architecture Institute of Canada (RAIC)
State of New Mexico (Governor Bill Richardson)
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA/Target Finder)
National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE)
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA)
American Solar Energy Society (ASES)
The Coal Connection
Architecture 2030 is also using its influence to inform debate around the use of coal as a source of energy, because there is an intimate though largely invisible connection between buildings and coal.
Sea Level Rise: BostonBuilding operations -- heating, cooling, ventilation, hot water, etc. -- account for 43% of total annual US greenhouse gas emissions. Most of that is because buildings are powered by energy mostly from coal-fired power plants. In fact, 76% of all the electricity produced at power plants in the US goes to operate buildings. By reducing the demand for energy from the building sector, Mazria believes the nation can avoid new investments in dirty coal, and has joined the call for a moratorium.
It has become common today to declare that there is no ‘silver bullet’ for solving the global warming crisis. This, in fact, is not correct. The one fossil fuel positioned to push the planet beyond 450 ppm, and trigger dangerous climate change, is coal.
This fact, coupled with the fact that a coal plant built today has life expectancy of 50 years or more, mandates that the time for positive preventive action is now, and that this action must be a moratorium on coal.
To bring the point home, Mazria used publicly available data to generate images of the impact that sea level rise, triggered by global warming, would have on US coastal cities. The images, and the connection between coal and the building sector, are in this report.