Posts Tagged ‘Architecture 2030’

AIA Edges Closer to USGBC Standards for Green Buildings

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

It costs more than $100,000 to fill out LEED certified.  Could the AIA offer a better way?  It’s surprising that the AIA still does not endorse LEED standards for green buildings.  There has been some progress in forming some kind of strategic alliance, but that is only in the area of advocacy, education and research.  There is still nothing concrete.  Nevertheless, the Architecture 2030 Bulletin and the AIA 2030 Commitment story are very interesting. The AIA website has many downloadable forms that comprise their own version of building performance measurement.  It’s likely that the AIA will step up to form their own rating system to compete with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which is a very lucrative non-profit organization that the government chose to use for their own needs to employ green strategies — and when the government chooses a program, everyone else follows.

I hope the AIA will offer an alternative form of measurement to the USGBC.  The USGBC’s process requires too many consultants and specialty firms to work independently on hundreds of credit applications.  Ideally, the architect and his/her engineering consultants should be able to perform all of the analysis as part of their basic services.  As of now, we get huge additional fee requests for the architect/engineers to help fill out LEED forms, and separate fee requests for energy models, LEED consulting, and commissioning services.  It costs more than $100,000 in miscellaneous fees just to fill out and upload credit point applications.  Many think that $100,000 could be used to improve the building’s performance.

The End of CO2?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

The end of CO2 emissions is getting closer.  The end may be in sight to phase out CO2-emitting coal by 2030, according to Architecture 2030 a non-profit, non-partisan and independent organization established in response to the global-warming crisis.  That conclusion comes from researchers at leading institutions such as NASA, NREL, Architecture 2030 and Columbia University.

The paper issued by the institutions – titled “Options for Near-Term Phaseout of CO2 Emissions from Coal Use in the United States” – will be published in the June edition of Environmental Science & Technology, the official publication of the American Chemical Society.  According to the article, “The only practical way to preserve a planet resembling that of the Holocene (i.e., the world as we know it)…is to rapidly phase out coal emissions.”

Architecture 2030 notes that “This sets up an immediate choice.  We can phase out coal CO2 emissions by 2030 and keep the planet we have or we can continue with ‘business as usual’ and hope for the best in one of the craziest games of risk the world has ever known.  Which ending will we choose?”

Architecture 2030 is advocating to phase out coal CO2 emissions by the target year because they think “the game of risk” isn’t worthwhile and because the United States already has all the tools it needs to achieve that goal.  “We don’t have to wait on ‘clean coal’ technology, technically known as carbon capture and sequestration (CSS), which is decades away and may not be proven economically or technologically feasible.  We can phase out coal emissions with existing know-how and off-the shelf technologies.”

Obama’s Job Plan Will Be More Successful if Driven by the Private Sector

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Job creation is driven by private sector investment, not government stimulus.President Barack Obama is well aware that private sector investment creates the majority of sustainable jobs, even though it goes against human nature to invest during hard economic times.  Federal stimulus money has saved/created between 600,000 and 1,500,000 jobs, according to the Congressional Budget Office – a faction of the 7,500,000 million jobs lost.  Lest we fault the Obama administration, remember that we generated one-third as many jobs during this decade as the 1990s.

According to Architecture 2030’s e-news bulletin, “Funding infrastructure projects with more stimulus dollars will not put America back to work. Why not?  Because infrastructure projects depend on tax revenue and the generator of tax revenue is the private sector.  Funding infrastructure projects with stimulus funds simply substitutes federal dollars for tax revenue dollars.  While some infrastructure spending and financial help to state and local governments is warranted, it will not put America back to work.  Each $1 billion of federal infrastructure spending creates only 7,667 one-time construction jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs.”

So what is the answer?  Architecture 2030 notes that, “The real engine behind American jobs is private building sector construction.  This sector is an amazing jobs machine, employing millions of Americans, spurring economic activity in almost every other U.S. sector, and generating large amounts of private investment and spending, as well as the tax revenue needed for infrastructure projects and other public services.  The bad news is the construction industry is reeling” and impacting many other sectors of the U.S. economy.

Architecture 2030 Plan Seeks to Create Jobs, Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent organization established in response to the global-warming crisis.  Its core mission is to transform the global building sector from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to part of the solution to the global-warming crisis.  The organization seeks to achieve a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed and constructed.architecture-2030

Its One-Year, 4.5-Million-Jobs Investment Plan initiative seeks to create new employment and $296 billion in direct, non-federal investment and spending and open a $47.6 billion renovation market that could total $1 trillion by 2030.

The Architecture 2030 Plan involves energy efficiency incentive grants to “buy down the interest rate” on mortgages used to purchase new energy-efficient homes or remodel existing ones  It proposes a one percent full interest rate buy-down for a new home that uses 50 percent less energy than present standards, or a home energy modification that would reduce consumption of an existing residence to 30 percent.  For example, if a mortgage interest rate quote is 4.75 percent, the plan would offer an interest buy-down which would reduce the interest rate a full percentage point, to 3.75 percent.

During the year the plan is in effect, consumers would save $11.7 billion in energy costs and mortgage payments, reducing the risk of foreclosure.  Even if only 2.3 percent of the nation’s housing stock participates, the plan will reduce CO2 emissions by 11.5 MMT CO2 and on-site energy consumption by 104 TBu.  Because these benefits are continuous, consumers will save $58.6 billion in energy costs over five years and a minimum of 57.6 MMT CO2e.