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Net Zero: The Latest Architecture and News

Unites States Plans to Create A Nationwide Definition for Zero Emissions Buildings

In an effort to find effective strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, the Biden-Harris administration has released a draft of a new legislative initiative that strives to impose a National Definition for Zero Emissions Buildings. Overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the draft proposes a standardized and verifiable base for defining the common minimum conditions for such buildings, as well as pathways for transparent verifications by public and private entities. DOE has now launched a ‘request for information' asking for feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, and other stakeholders before finalizing the document.

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World Habitat Awards 2024 Recognize Housing Initiatives that Empower Communities

International non-profit organization World Habitat, in partnership with UN-Habitat, has announced the World Habitat Awards 2024. The prizes strive to highlight projects that demonstrate novel and transformative approaches to housing that incorporate principles of climate change adaptation and community-driven solutions. This year, 8 projects have been selected, out of which 2 projects were recognized with the Gold World Habitat Award.

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Decarbonization and Energy Efficiency in Latin America: How to Progress Towards a More Sustainable Architecture?

In the context of global initiatives to promote energy efficiency and the decarbonization of buildings, Latin America is at the center of the debate. The International Seminar on Sustainable and NetZero Buildings 2023, held in Bogotá and organized by CCCS, IEA, UNIANDES, CAF, and CEELA, aimed primarily to create a space for the exchange of experiences, such as Oliver Schütte's No Footprint House, while simultaneously conducting a review of government policies and the implementation of norms and standards in the region.

Among panels and conferences featuring Clara Camarasa, Nicola Borregaard, Laura Chapa, Paola Valencia, Iván Osuna, Juan Carlos Vega, Angélica Ospina, and Diego Velandia, five main learnings emerged as lessons: from creating more relevance and energy calculations to the development of the timber industry - and certifications.

Navigating COP28: Key Takeaways for Architects from the Dubai Summit

COP28, or the 2023 United Nations Conference of the Parties, was held in Dubai between November 30 and December 13. The annual meeting gathers representatives from 198 countries, as well as industry leaders to discuss and establish strategies to limit the extent of climate change and its adverse effects. The ultimate goal of these meetings is to find ways to limit the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. At the moment, the global temperature rise is already at 1.2 degrees Celsius. As the construction industry at large accounts for 39% of global emissions, architects and planners have a shared interest in the results of thee international summit, Read on to discover some of the key takeaways of COP28.

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Façade Solutions That Enhance Net Zero Architecture

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Moving towards a sustainable future is a global challenge that involves all disciplines working together. According to the 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, almost 40% of carbon emissions come from the construction industry. This places a heavy responsibility on the industry, which must be open to exploring innovative strategies, technologies, and materials in order to pave the road towards a universal sustainability goal: reaching carbon neutrality by no later than 2050.

With that in mind, this article presents three specific products and systems –low-carbon glass, low-carbon concrete, and lightweight materials– that architects are applying in their projects to contribute to a low-impact architectural design.

Making the Economic Case for Biophilic Design

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

A simple walk in the park will relax even the most tightly wound individual. But what about the places where people spend far more of their time, such as schools, office buildings, and hospitals? What role can design play in incorporating nature into those environments? And at what additional cost? Bill Browning has published a book—The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing With Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense, 2nd Edition (written with Catie Ryan and Dakota Walker)—arguing that the cost of bringing nature into building projects isn’t prohibitive but additive. An environmental strategist with a long history in green building, Browning is one of the founding partners (with architects Bob Fox and Rick Cook) of the sustainable design consultancy Terrapin Bright Green. Recently I talked with Browning about biophilic design—and, because he was a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council’s board of directors, about the strengths and shortcomings of the LEED rating system.

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Looking Forward to COP28: Can Decisions About the Built Environment Save Us From the Climate Crisis?

The 2023 United Nations Conference of the Parties, more frequently referred to as COP28 is a joining of over 160 countries that intrinsically agree to combat harmful human impacts on the climate. The International Climate Summit takes place annually, bringing together heads of state, delegates, and representatives from various countries to negotiate actions and agreements related to climate mitigation. Last year, COP 27 was held between November 6 and November 18, 2022, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. As the upcoming COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates is around the corner, it is worth looking at the conference’s impact and what to expect.

COP 28 will convene from November 30 to December 12 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In this year’s COP28, the program will be geared towards responding to the Global Stocktake and “closing the gaps to 2023.” The COP presidency has launched a consultation on thematic areas, encouraging international stakeholders to highlight the most pressing issues that should be prioritized in COP28. The themes for this year are Technology & Innovation, Inclusion, Frontline Communities, and Finance.

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SOM Reveals Design for a Net-Zero Campus on Governors Island, New York City

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have been selected to design the New York Climate Exchange in partnership with Stony Brook University, a public research institute in New York. The new net-zero campus, located on Governors Island, New York, is planned to serve as an anchor institution for the development of new climate solutions. As a first-of-its-kind international center, “The Exchange” will also act as a regional hub for the green economy.

What is Subscription Economy in the Context of Architectural Production?

Subscriptions are quickly becoming an integral part of everyday life. For example, streaming platforms have completely replaced the need to own video cassettes, while ride-sharing services partially cover the need to own a private car. Subscriptions have been largely understood as digital services, but a new trend suggests that the same concept could be transferred to physical objects in the near future. Instead of owning a fridge, a washing machine, or even light bulbs, one could acquire a subscription to ensure the freshness of produce, clean clothes, and a well-lit home.

The concept is known as the “subscription-based economy,” a variant of the “circular economy” notion. It postulates that instead of owning some of the objects used every day, one could subscribe to a service to gain access to the same benefits, but without the need to own, maintain or dispose of the object in question. Consumers no longer buy products; they buy access to services. Sometimes, it would mean simply leasing the object instead of purchasing it, but the model goes one step further. It inscribes a shift of responsibility and mentality. Because consumers no longer own the objects, the responsibility to reuse and recycle falls to the producers, who are now in charge of the entire life cycle of the objects they create.

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A School for Girls in India and a Vertical Community Farm in the US: 10 Unbuilt Socially Engaged Projects Submitted to ArchDaily

The year 2022 was marked by several socio-cultural and economic crises across the globe, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the increasing cost of living worldwide, combined with a number of natural disasters such as the devastating floods in Pakistan and hurricane Ian in the US. In these difficult times, architects are stepping up and embracing their role in developing design-based solutions to humanitarian crises, ranging from temporary shelters and affordable housing schemes to centers for protecting at-risk groups such as homeless underage girls, children from low-income environments, or families in need of medical care.

This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights projects submitted by the ArchDaily community that engage with their local communities, offering safe spaces for disadvantaged and at-risk groups. From a sanctuary for homeless girls in Iraq to an affordable housing project in Prague’s first skyscraper, this selection features projects centered around people, their needs, and desires. Many of the projects employ local materials such as clay bricks to lower the construction costs. They also reuse existing buildings and hope to engage the local community in building and appropriating the proposed spaces.

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Max Fordham: Engineering Ideas, Engineering Change

Max Fordham is pleased to announce a special exhibition celebrating the life and work of its founder, Max.

What is Regenerative Architecture? Limits of Sustainable Design, System Thinking Approach and the Future

A heavily cited fact within the architecture industry is that the built environment accounts for 40% of global carbon emissions. The concerning statistic puts immense responsibility on construction professionals. The idea of sustainability in architecture urgently emerged as a way of bandaging environmental damage. A wide range of sustainability practices aims no higher than making buildings “less bad”, serving as inadequate measures for current and future architecture. The problem with sustainable architecture is that it stops with ‘sustaining’.

In order to maintain the current state of the environment, the architecture community has been working towards greener means of production. Conventionally, a green building employs active or passive features as a tool for reduction and conservation. Most sustainable designs view buildings as a vessel of their own rather than integrated parts of their ecosystem. With the planet’s current needs, this approach is not enough. It is not enough to sustain the natural environment, but also restore its processes.

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What COP27 Meant for Architecture and the Construction Industry

The 2022 United Nations Conference of the Parties, more commonly referred to as COP27, was held between November 6 and November 18, 2022, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The conference included more than 90 heads of state and an estimated 35,000 representatives, or delegates, from 190 countries. Aimed at encouraging and guiding countries to take effective action against climate change, the next edition of these conferences, COP28, is already scheduled from 30 November to 12 December 2023, in the United Arab Emirates. The CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, an oil company chief who also oversees renewable energy efforts in the Emirates, was appointed to preside over the negotiations and talks, which led to a wave of criticism from environmental activists.

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Atkins Reveals New Secondary School with Net Zero Operational Carbon Emissions in West Sussex, UK

Designed by Atkins, a new zero-carbon secondary school in West Sussex has received planning permission from the West Sussex County Council. The school will be created at Homes England’s new Brookleigh development near Burgess Hill and will offer educational facilities to 900 local children. The building is designed to generate its own renewable energy on-site, eliminating the need for any fossil fuels. It also aims to achieve Passivhaus certification, the highest standard od energy efficiency a building can reach.

Low-Carbon Strategies: Insulated Panels for Energy-Efficient Envelopes

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A 2022 United Nations report claims that the negative impacts of the climate crisis are mounting much faster than scientists predicted less than a decade ago. Rising greenhouse-gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of many communities to adapt, and the consequences will continue to hit the world’s most vulnerable populations. As climate scientist Maarten van Aalst suggests, “Any further delay in global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.” The data is clear: to protect our planet, we need to prevent a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures this century. To do so, the world must achieve a 45% reduction in global carbon emissions from 2010 levels to 2030, to then reach a net-zero state by 2050. It is evident, however, that we are on track to miss this goal by a substantial amount. The clock is ticking, and every industry should act fast (and drastically) to even dream of greener cities.

Abandoned Airport near Athens, Greece, Set to be Transformed into Europe’s Largest Coastal Park

The Athens International Airport was decommissioned in 2001, leading to two decades of work for the local government to establish funding and a governance mechanism to transform the 600 acres of unused space into Europe’s largest coastal park. The site has a layered history, from prehistoric settlements to the construction of the airport in the 20th century and the site being used for as an Olympic venue in 2004. Architecture office Sasaki is leading the design to transform the site again and create the Ellinikon Metropolitan Park, a restorative landscape and climate-positive design that will serve as a park, playground, and cultural center for the city of Athens. Developers are planning to break ground early next year.

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