Earth Day 2014

We have a long road ahead to achieving a more sustainable society.

Today, on the 44th annual Earth Day, the fight for a healthy planet feels particularly urgent. The challenges facing our environment are monumental, and the future can appear almost catastrophic.

As designers, however, we have a responsibility to meet these challenges. We should remember that the architecture industry exerts a powerful influence on the health of the environment. Buildings in the United States account for 38% of carbon emissions nationally and 43% of our country’s annual energy use.

At VOA, we continue to take our stewardship of the environment seriously and incorporate sustainable thinking throughout our architecture and design practice. We’ve pledged to achieve the sustainability benchmarks designated in the AIA 2030 and China Accord commitments. This means reaching carbon neutrality in all our building designs by 2030.

To date VOA projects have saved 40% energy use in new construction and an additional 32% in lighting power reduction. This is a great start and something we take pride in, but we need to do more to achieve a more sustainable society.

While we’re doing our part, here are some fun ways to bring green practices home and honor Earth Day.

Carbon Rally features small actions that can make a big impact when done en masse.

The Earth Day Network features a variety of green events and challenges.

The EPA site features a Take Action section.

Mapworks Learning allows one to help save mangroves which are important ecologically and in carbon sequestration.

Photo: ThinkStock

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