Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Climate Change/Sustainable Design

By Chase Masters

                  With this 6th blog I would like to talk about a subject that I care about and one that affects everyone.  Climate change has been a worry for years and now the main concern is the sea level rising and destroying cities, countries, and islands.  We know that there are greenhouse gasses that are the leading cause of global warming.  The one greenhouse gas everyone is concerned with is CO2.  There however are more gasses and methane that traps more solar radiation than Carbon Dioxide.  The built environment is the leading cause of Carbon emissions, much more than vehicle emissions.  The response to this information is to try to decrease building emissions and thus help reduce the amount of carbon as a greenhouse gas.  There have been a few challenges that came about to try and reach the goal of not having any carbon emissions in the built environment.  Some of these challenges are the 2030 challenge, reaching carbon neutral by 2030; and the decarburization of Chicago, making Chicago the first carbon neutral city by 2030.  You can read more about the 2030 plan here:  Or the DeCarbonization of Chicago here:

                  These challenges are a pushing point for architects to utilize Sustainable design in their buildings.  This will not only be better for the environment, however will also cost less for the owner in the long run with lower cost for heating/cooling as well as power cost.  There is many ways to use sustainable design some of them is designing the building around the built environment to utilize the sun exposure to passively heat the building in the winter and use the building to shade the windows to keep cool in the summer.  Building into a hill to use the Earth to heat and cool the building.  Designing the building around the wind direction to naturally ventilate the interior.  Using these design techniques along with solar collection, wind turbines, geothermal, and others will heavily decrease the emissions of a building and we will get closer to reach our goal of carbon neutral.

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