Sustainable Building and the Path to Net ZeroPublished on 2022-04-25
As our world transitions into net zero, sustainable building is an emerging concern for people, governments, and businesses. In this blog, we’ll be discussing the current challenges in sustainable architecture and what we can do to move onto a world where sustainable building is the new standard.
According to the UN Environmental Global Status report for Building and Construction in 2019, the global buildings sector accounted for 38% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Most emissions come from transport (23%), residential buildings (11%), and buildings construction industry (10%). Electricity consumption in building operations accounts for 55% of the world’s global electricity use.
What is meant by net zero?
Net zero refers to balancing the emissions we produce with the removed emissions from our atmosphere. This concept has come in response to the alarming predictions that if we continue down the same path, the earth could reach its temperature limit, which poses great risks to marine life, and life on land.
In the Paris Agreement, numerous countries agreed to work towards balancing their output of greenhouse gas emissions with the removal of such emissions.
Now, this isn’t an easy target. Achieving Net zero means cutting the output of greenhouse gas emissions significantly and taking emissions out of the air through innovative technologies. Forests do this naturally, but scientists are also looking into artificial approaches such as improving the soil to store more carbon, planting new forests, and discovering ways to capture CO2 and store it underground.
How does net zero link to sustainable building?
Building any type of infrastructure requires thousands of pounds of concrete, steel, and other natural materials that are significant contributors to pollution and energy use. Lightning, cooling, heating, and insulation also play a part in a building’s energy use.
To make our way towards net zero building, we must emphasize how buildings are being built. The concept of green building has been scaling around the globe, and international certifications have been created to provide guidelines on how to do it. Every day new innovations and ideas on how to build efficiently to make the most of our natural resources and reduce the carbon footprint arise. It’s safe to say that net zero can’t be achieved if we don’t master the art of building green.
Certifications make a difference
Certifications have been put in place to provide a framework for efficient, energy-saving, cost-efficient green buildings. Obtaining green building certifications is great for the environment and business-owner alike. A building with a green certification can have higher sales, lease rates, and better quality of air. There are many Green building certification programs available worldwide, and they are great incentives for building owners who want to build consciously.
At Cibes, we have taken steps towards making sustainable building easier by obtaining certifications and carrying out reports to assess the environmental impact of our operations, from cradle to grave.
We have now launched an EPD based on a Life Cycle Assessment for our top-selling product, the Cibes A5000 in cooperation with Miljö Giraff. With an EPD, you can earn credits for LEED certifications and other green building rating systems. Read more about why an EPD is important for your green project here.
Sustainable buildings for inspiration
#1 Siemens – The Crystal – London, UK
The crystal is a fully electric sustainable initiative led by Siemens in London. The crystal-shaped, glazed structure has obtained the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum level credential for sustainable buildings. The crystal has achieved such level through an innovative system that monitors energy use, insulated glass, solar control, and smart use of natural daylight. This smart building also harvests rainwater and features charging stations for electric vehicles.
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The Crystal offers free admission to the Crystal Exhibition, so if you’re ever in London be sure to make a visit.
#2 Apple Park Building – Cupertino, California
Aside from being one of the most expensive buildings on the planet, Apple Park has obtained a LEED in Platinum, the highest credential for sustainable buildings. This building is the world’s largest naturally ventilated building.
Located in the warm Cupertino in California, Apple Park’s smart natural ventilation system only requires heating or AC for 3 months in an entire year. It’s built with hollow concrete to help the building stay cool, and it’s powered by 100% renewable energy.
Unfortunately, Apple Park isn’t open to the public, but it is possible to take a stroll around the perimeter.
#3 Tecla 3D Printed House – Ravenna, Italy
Tecla is the first-ever eco-sustainable housing model 3D printed from local raw earth (mix of clay and sand). Created by Mario Cucinella Architects Tecla isn’t just a dazzling mix of modern and primeval, but a building designed to respond to climatic conditions, and optimal insulation and ventilation according to the climate needs.
#4 People’s Pavilion – Eindhoven, The Netherlands
The people’s pavilion is a design statement of the transition into a circular economy, the pavilion is a 100% circular building made completely with recycled materials collected by the residents of Eindhoven with the goal to show the world what is achievable when you get together with your community to create something with only recycled materials. The pavilion, which was a temporary installation, had the capacity to seat 200 people.
The People’s Pavilion won the Frame awards in Sustainable Design and despite its short-lived life, it left a long-lasting effect on the new future in sustainable building, the vision that as a community, we can all take part in sustainable construction methods.
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