This question was asked by the U.S.-based Architecture 2030 firm when it realized the construction industry had the tools, talent pool and technology to achieve this. Its founder, Edward Mazria, started the 2030 Challenge as a response. It establishes the following targets: all new buildings in 2020 will have only 20% of their energy consumption fueled by fossil fuel energy consumption, they will be 10% by 2025 and the entirety of the building sector will be carbon neutral by 2030.
Mazria believes the 2030 Challenge is essential because the construction industry is one of the largest consumers of energy and can influence other sectors’ behavior. Once power systems move forward, they are unlikely to be reversed due to the difficulty of retrofitting and the long-term economic benefits of sustainable energy sources.
The real difficulty lies in convincing others of the Challenge’s importance and feasibility. As long as people construct buildings, Mazria believes “three-quarters of the built environment will be either new or renovated by 2035.” As long as sustainability measures are implemented from here on out, Challenge 2030 should be met without hindering growth or prohibiting construction. Other architecture firms have to be convinced: as of 2010, the majority of the largest U.S. architecture firms have signed on to the challenge. Furthermore, numerous territories as California, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and Seattle have approved the 2030 Challenge for all future buildings.
Architecture 2030 is also pushing legislation, including a Congress-pending update on the National Model Building Energy Code Standards.
Finally, through the 2010 Imperative, the importance of integrating energy-conscious construction in the U.S. design curriculum is highlighted.
If the 2030 Challenge takes off worldwide, it will be achieved through green-conscious building planning, the installation of recyclable materials and less energy-hungry equipment and community-wide renewable energy sources; a combination of architecture, legislation and execution.
Read here the full reports (sources):
"The 2010 Imperative: Global Emergency Teach-In"
Published on Inhabitat.com by Sarah Rich - April 1, 2007