The Real Carbon Footprint of Buildings

The Real Carbon Footprint of Buildings

Climate change is the most important and biggest challenge of our time. We’re living through an environmental emergency that really does compel all of us as a society, as well as every government and industry. 

 Currently, there are several agents working on different solutions and alternatives, however, this must be a goal pursued globally. The construction industry carries an important responsibility for this matter.

Buildings and construction around the world imply approximately 40% of carbon emissions. Even though we cannot undo those mistakes that are now in the past, architects, engineers, designers and urban planners must take concrete actions in order to revert this path. 

There are several certifications and initiatives that have joined this mission, but there are still many to go. As long as there are agents who remain ignoring this complex and dangerous problem, we will remain far from the solution. The first step is to acknowledge all the elements that are involved when we talk about the industry’s carbon footprint. This goes way beyond just waste or the energy that is needed for a building’s development. We must also consider the greenhouse gas emissions that result from the transportation of materials to the job site, as well as the fossil fuels that are needed for water supply. 

Reducing carbon emissions is a goal that must be implicit in every single step of a project’s development. Designers are responsible of imagining spaces that respond to our times’ needs, buildings that can face a long life and a maximum use of the resources that are destined to them. Investors must also be open to new materials and techniques that may be friendlier to the environment in the long term. Contractors and everyone related to construction also carry a great responsibility to fully commit to more efficient processes that will inevitably result in a better use of both energy and resources.

Nowadays, there are many certifications and technological developments that have made is possible to obtain much needed clarity in the effects of every single human activity, thus helping us really dimension the impact of our industries and lifestyles. Within construction, this has made it possible to calculate exactly the carbon footprint for every project, providing a concrete path that we are now responsible to acknowledge and follow. It’s our duty to create better and more sustainable buildings today in order to live in a better and healthier world tomorrow.

What do you think of these measures? Have you joined this sustainable movement within your projects?

Why the building sector?, Architecture 2030
Architecture’s carbon problem, Blueprint for better
What is the carbon footprint of a building?, HMC Architects

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