Architects have enormous sway in specifying building materials and modes of operation; they also best understand the barriers facing zero-carbon designs.
by Audrey Gray
You can be forgiven for side-eyeing another “sustainability” panel. In a spring of dire climate predictions accompanied by losses of homes, farms, and infrastructure to storms, floods, and wildfires, talk feels slow. As death tolls have mounted at even one degree Celsius of global warming above preindustrial levels, so has a sense of alarm among architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals. Planners know: The built environment is simply not ready for the planet’s heat spike.
But what if those same pros who carry such agency in the building sector could slow down the warming and buy humanity some time? After all, building operations and “embodied carbon” (the energy and materials used in construction) account for a whopping 40 percent of the world’s current carbon emissions. Architects have enormous sway in specifying building materials and modes of operation over the next ten years. And they understand the political, budget, and client-education barriers to executing zero-carbon designs better than anyone. Could AEC practitioners evolve their traditionally quiet, careful service mentality to make eco-strategic power plays and speak frankly to policy makers?
On March 18, more than 80 high-profile architects, designers, and city officials made just such a collective move. They sent a letter to California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, that began: “We are heading into an extremely dangerous period. If we do not take action now, the planet will overshoot 2 degree C warming by a wide margin with consequences that are projected to be devastating to California, our country, and the entire world.” The signers, who included Edward Mazria, founder and CEO of the carbon-reduction strategy nonprofit Architecture 2030, asked Newsom to commit to zero net energy performance in all new commercial construction by next year.
Read on HERE >>> Source: Metropolis Magazine The Building Sector May Be Our Best Hope for Averting Climate Change