Building Science: Systems and Tools to Meet the 2030 Challenge

Contributor: Don Kranbuehl, FAIA

Architects are realizing the 2030 Challenge is no longer just about tracking predicted Energy Use Intensity (pEUI) and operational carbon (the carbon emitted from building mechanical systems). In the next 10 years, it will be critical to also make great strides in reducing embodied carbon (the carbon emitted from the interior and exterior materials that are used to construct buildings). Embodied carbon emissions make up a large amount of greenhouse emissions from the built environment and have greater potential to have an immediate impact on reducing the effects of climate change. Overall, building energy sources and their materials account for nearly 40% of all global emissions. However, over the next 10 years, approximately 72% of the carbon emitted from new construction will be from embodied carbon. Those metrics alone make it undeniable that as designers, we have a role and responsibility to mitigate environmental impacts by working with nature to develop resilient, sustainable, low carbon projects.

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