Sustainable design in the United States is for many a sort of Rorschach test. The construction industry is either making steady progress toward the ultimate goal of a carbon-free building sector, or it’s moving entirely too slowly, missing key targets as the ecological clock keeps ticking. The perplexing truth to all of this is: both are ostensibly true. In recent decades the industry has become significantly more energy efficient. We’ve added building stock but flattened the energy curve. The cost of renewables continues to drop. But way more is required, much more quickly. At the same time, huge hurdles remain. Without a renewable grid and stringent energy codes, it’s hard to see how we can fully decarbonize the building sector in even 20 years, let alone at the timeline suggested by increasingly worried climate scientists. It’s the classic good news/bad news scenario (or vice-versa, depending on your mood).
Carbon Neutral: The Latest Architecture and News
3XN/GXN have revealed their design for a new CO2 neutral and climate positive addition to the Hotel Green Solution House (Hotel GSH), in Rønne on the Danish island of Bornholm. Scheduled for 2021, the new wing including 24 rooms, a conference room, and a roof spa, is expected to provide a positive climate footprint when built, a novelty in Danish commercial buildings.
KPMB Architects and Suffolk recently broke ground on Boston University’s new Center for Computing and Data Sciences. The Center aims to be a striking new addition to Boston University’s central campus and its first new major teaching center in a half-century. As the tallest building at Boston University, the 19-story, 350,000-square-foot structure will bring the institution’s mathematics, statistics and computer science departments under one roof.
In the quest for carbon neutrality, the City of Helsinki in Finland announced its action plans to minimize greenhouse gas emissions substantially by 2035. The city’s fully owned energy company, Helen Ltd, a producer of district heating, power, and district cooling, aims to augment this policy by converting its largely coal and natural gas energy production processes to climate-neutral energy production, thereby eliminating carbon dioxide emissions fully by 2050.