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The Path Ahead for Great Design, Leading Up To Net-Zero Emissions
December 8, 2021 at 6:30 PM
by Sidhanth Thomas
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The AEC Industry we know and understand is set to change drastically. All the stakeholders of a modern future have already begun to see and implement important aspects of renewable energy and the supplantation of carbon emissions.

According to the UN Environment and International Energy Agency, buildings and construction together account for 36% of global final energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Although green architecture has gained popularity in the past decade, it is most often associated with growing trees and plants — perhaps because the term ‘green’ stands in for ‘environmentally-minded’ or ‘sustainable.’ In addition to waiting for the plants to mature, there are other changes that we, as architects, can make that will contribute to reducing carbon emissions in our industry.

Here are 4 Aspects of a Post-Great Design, Net Zero World

1. Carbon Emissions

2. Adaptive Reuse

3. Working in Synergy

4. Sustainable Skyscrapers

1. Carbon Emissions

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Even with the greatest carbon-negative intentions, it would take several hundred years to return atmospheric carbon to pre-industrial levels. We must still endeavor to rebalance the carbon cycle since a natural cycle that goes off-kilter causes damage elsewhere.

Excess carbon’s impact goes beyond just the heating of our earth. It also acidifies the oceans. So using carbon as a resource at every opportunity is the brief designers must set themselves. The water cycle provides 95 percent of the effect on the heat dynamics of our planet, whereas carbon dioxide’s impact is four percent. To solve the existential threat of global heating, a look should also be cast to the water cycle to cool our earth.

2. Adaptive Reuse

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Adaptive Reuse is defined as the aesthetic process that adapts buildings for new uses while retaining their historic features. When there are existing structures on the site, the strategic reuse of the original buildings not only saves the energy of mass demolition but also honors the energy that was already put into the production of those original structures, while also reducing the embodied energy and carbon required for the new structures.

3. Working in Synergy

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To achieve net-zero, all industry bodies need to come together and play their part. In the design world, there's an opportunity to balance great design with energy effi