Top 3 2030 Challenge Trends

Key takeaways from the USGBC Region 7 Conference

By Annalise Dietzen and Emma Conway

In March, we attended the USGBC Region 7 Conference at the University of Cincinnati. This year’s theme was “2030: 15 Years to Go.”

Many of us are familiar with The 2030 Challenge issued by the organization Architecture 2030. It urges the global architecture and building community to adopt targets for fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in new and renovated buildings by the year 2030. While the energy and climate change crises are not new, information about their severity is increasingly alarming. The conference presentations reminded the designers, architects and engineers in the audience how crucial it is that our industry work to address the building sector’s energy consumption. The most recent approaches to solving these issues present themselves as new trends. We’ve selected a few of these trends as our key takeaways from last month’s conference.

3 | IPD
Integrated project delivery is often regarded in terms of the LEED process, but IPD also holds great potential for helping us reach 2030’s goal of carbon neutral building. Think about it: how do we successfully see a project through to its potential in the most healthy, efficient, and innovative way possible without having all team members on board from the get-go? By using the IPD method, the project team has a greater understanding and a holistic view of the objective at hand. This bodes well for successfully solving the issues of building emissions and consumption.

In short: Teamwork makes the dream work.

Almost each and every presenter touched upon the concept of plug loads. Consider how much energy is consumed by every component of our buildings and interior spaces… just in the number of computers we have in our office for instance. Each and every desktop unit consumes significantly more energy than a laptop unit. Turning each unit off completely allows more energy to be saved, (if we turned them off). How often do you leave work and notice someone’s bright blue locked screen glaring at you? Now think of all the things you leave “turned off” at home. Unbeknownst to many of us, TVs, coffee makers, even unused iPhone chargers all contribute to plug loads. These “phantom loads” play a significant part in energy consumption.

In short: Unplug, detach, and save.

“Sustainable” means meeting today’s needs without compromising the needs of tomorrow. Professionals in the field are increasingly realizing the urgency behind sustainable building, which is good news for the next few generations. We need this momentum to continue. As Ray Micham, architect and principal of The Collaborative Inc. exclaimed, “You want the next generation to stand on your shoulders!”

Organizations committed to the 2030 Challenge have set their sights on expansion. 2030 Districts are unique private/public partnerships which provide a business model for urban sustainability. Independent architects Don Rerko and Chris Toddy got together and started the Cleveland 2030 District three years ago. Districts in five large cities–Seattle, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Denver– comprise over 70 million square feet currently being transformed. Rerko and Toddy’s common interest led them to become part of a larger movement within the 2030 Challenge. If Mr. Rerko and Mr. Toddy can accomplish this on a whim, what’s stopping us?

In short: Acknowledge the issue. Be proactive. Utilize your skills and take advantage of the field in which you work.

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