Sustainable Architecture: The Road Not Taken

By March 29, 2016Sustainability

Have you wondered why sustainable architecture is becoming one of the leading architecture trends in the world today? It’s because we face two possible futures. A clean, prosperous and secure energy future or a climate catastrophe. Scientists agree that we’re heading in the wrong direction. To transform global energy use, we must create enough leverage to move the world, which can feel like a herculean task.

But, there is a way to get there by choosing the right sustainable architecture solutions and taking them to scale. How do we get from here to there? In this article, we at SH Architecture will take a look at how sustainable architecture can help shape our future and the consequences our world will face if we continue down our current path.

Paving the Way for Sustainable Architecture

First, we must identify the solutions that will have the most impact on climate change, which means we need to drastically reduce carbon emissions. To do that, we need to focus on one of our largest sources of Co2 emissions, electricity generation. Buildings are responsible for 72% of electricity consumption, so making buildings dramatically more energy efficient can cutcarbon emissions at the source.The_Core_at_the_Eden_Project

Solutions applied to help energy efficiency are powerful, especially those that stimulate the market. For example, saving energy is cheaper than buying it or building more power plants, so energy efficiency makes compelling market sense. In commercial buildings, energy efficiency can save billions of dollars and avoid gigatons of carbon emissions.

Next, we must choose the right approach to optimize an entire building and create cascading savings. For example, if an old mechanical air conditioning unit fails, there are improvements you can make before replacing it, such as upgrading windows and insulation, painting interiors a lighter color and adding daylighting to reduce the load of the building.

Now, a smaller unit can do the job and the cost savings pay for the upgrades. By planning with tenants, buildings owners can improve asset value while cutting their buildings energy use by a large percentage. Thus, saving energy and money simultaneously.

Yet, what if we continue down our current path? What consequences will we face? As you’ve probably heard, carbon emissions contribute to climate change. In turn, climate change will lead to higher demand for water while the supply shrinks, more wildfires, droughts and tropical storms, adverse effects on our agricultural industry and food supply, drastic changes in temperature and many others across the world. So, what can you do to help avoid this impending climate catastrophe?

One sustainable building is important. However, we can make a real, tangible change on our planet when we create a demand for sustainable architecture across the country. And together we can. We can assist in creating a better world for all of us by investing in sustainable architecture projects that get amazing results, such as the Northwest Career & Technical Academy, the RTC Bonneville Transportation Center and the Heritage Aquatics Center. Examples like these create demand from employees who want better, more energy-efficient and sustainable workplaces and building owners who see quantifiable savings and a clear business case for sustainable architecture.

The long-term goal of sustainable architecture is to scale the solutions to hundreds of thousands of buildings across the country, and millions across the planet, so that money can flow to efficiency and away from solutions that create more Co2 emissions. But, we can’t do it alone. You can help us spread the word of sustainable architecture by showcasing our successes and the successes of other sustainable architecture projects around the world.

Are you ready to walk the road of sustainable architecture for your next building project and stand against climate change? If so, contact SH Architecture today. We’re a team of solutions-driven architecture professionals specializing in sustainable architecture and have offices in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.


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