Scientists from around the globe warn about the dire future that awaits if we don’t look for ways to make a difference and avoid such a bleak future. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2030 we could hit the 1.5°C warming threshold, which would lead to more extreme temperatures around the world, heavier precipitation, and an increased risk of drought in some places of the globe. Whether we realize it or not, architecture and urban design and development play a huge role in the fight against climate change, and this is how we can have a positive impact.
One of the very first steps to start turning the path of the industry into the right direction is joining the 2030 commitment, an international effort that aims at tackling the impact caused by the operational carbon of buildings. These emissions are the result of HVAC systems and lighting, among other energy-consuming operations, representing one of the biggest challenges of the industry. More than 500 firms have already signed the 2030 commitment, which means that finding more sustainable operational alternatives are already being applied around the world.
Unfortunately, finding ways to make future buildings more eco-friendly is not enough, and looking at the buildings that already exist is a crucial part of fighting climate change through architecture. Therefore, firms and companies need to think about existing buildings, adapting and retrofitting are some of the most effective strategies to reduce the amount of carbon emissions that come from today’s architecture. It is much more effective to modify existing buildings than to demolish them and build new ones.
Another obvious yet complicated way to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment is to rethink the materials that are used and look for eco-friendly alternatives. Currently, steel and concrete tend to be the ultimate building materials, and they have been for decades. However, manufacturing these materials have a severe impact on climate change and global warming. This is why we need to make sure that we don’t end up ordering extra material that won’t be necessary, and opt for alternative materials proved to be just as resistant and effective as steel, concrete, aluminum, and foam.
Lastly, architects, engineers, and designers must think of renewable energy as one of their priorities, and this can be achieved by smart building design. One of the most obvious ways to incorporate renewable energy solutions into our projects is by adding solar panels. Yet, discussing low-carbon energy and green energy contracts with our clients can help us raise awareness and educate more people about these solutions while increasing the efficiency and sustainability of our buildings.