The plan aims to reduce building products’ carbon-equivalent footprint by 30 percent by 2014, and 50 percent by 2030
SANTA FE, N.M.—Architecture 2030 continues to lay the foundation for a critical transformation of the Building Sector by issuing the 2030 Challenge for Products, a plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the manufacturing and transportation of building products.
It is well known that the building sector is currently responsible for almost half of the energy consumption (49 percent) and GHG emissions (47 percent) in the U.S. While the majority of the energy consumption and its associated emissions come from building operations (such as heating, cooling and lighting), the embodied energy and emissions of building products are also becoming increasingly significant. Approximately 5 to 8 percent of total annual U.S. energy consumption and associated emissions is for building products and construction. When including all products for the built environment (furniture, movable equipment, appliances, etc.), the percentage is even greater.
The 2030 Challenge for Products specifically asks the global architecture, planning, design and building community to specify, design and manufacture products for new developments, buildings and renovations to meet a maximum carbon-equivalent footprint of 30 percent below the product category average through 2014. The embodied carbon-equivalent footprint reduction will be increased to 35 percent in 2015, 40 percent in 2020, 45 percent in 2025, and 50 percent by 2030. A two-year period, from 2011 to 2013, has been established for the development of industry standards and product averages, and for product manufacturers to move to meet the 30 percent reduction based on a Life Cycle Assessment.
In 2006, Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge, calling for the operation of all new buildings and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030. As the building and design community moves to actively implement the 2030 Challenge, it can now begin to address the embodied energy and emissions in building products, including everything from structural materials to equipment, paint and carpet.
“With the stroke of a pen, the design and building community can transform the industrial sector in the U.S. by specifying building elements that meet the 2030 Challenge for Products,” says Architecture 2030 Founder Edward Mazria. “This presents a huge opportunity to spur competition for cost-effective, low-carbon building products.”
The 2030 Challenge has already been received positively among other industry professionals working on sustainable design issues.
“Clearly the 2030 Challenge has been a game-changer in the way people think about climate change,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. “The new 2030 Challenge for Products appropriately uses LCA as a scientific methodology for holistic thinking, and that’s an excellent way to reduce the environmental impact from building products.”
“Architecture 2030 continues to drill in on the critical issues that impact the carbon contributions of the built environment,” adds Mary Ann Lazarus, senior vice president with HOK. “Their new focus on reducing carbon in building products will bring much needed attention and resources to a major area that has, so far, been outside the grasp of most design and construction projects.”
The widespread adoption and implementation of the original 2030 Challenge illustrates that the building community will act to significantly reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of their projects. The products challenge will simultaneously reduce emissions in the industrial and transportation sectors, as well as restore and expand the U.S. manufacturing job base by favoring local industries.
About Architecture 2030:
Architecture 2030 is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit research organization focused on achieving a dramatic reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed, constructed, and renovated. Learn more at the Architecture 2030 website.