AEC professionals should push for net zero projects

Educate and lead clients to more sustainable choices, says LEED fellow.

January 25, 2019 |

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Architects, engineers, and construction professionals should move aggressively to encourage more clients to build to net zero, says Gunnar Hubbard, FAIA, LEED Fellow, in a column posted at Real Estate Weekly.

Dire warnings in the latest climate report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change require bold action in the built environment, Hubbard writes. “Not all clients are environmentally aware or proactive to the same degree,” he writes. “Regardless, we must do everything in our power to educate them, and should not wait for them to ask how their projects can be more sustainable.”

The AEC profession has the knowledge and the tools to achieve net zero, and in many cases the budget allows that standard to be reached, he writes. This can be done by making the investment and ROI clear, “and getting away from unreasonable paybacks of 3-5 years as a cap on improved performance.”

Thermally sound, climate-responsive architecture including taking into account sun path movement and wind direction, and defining levels of comfort for the building type are critical. That approach, combined with smarter system selection for ventilation and comfort that can be tuned for increased controllability and performance will help achieve the net zero goal.

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