The solution to climate change and global warming is now more apparent than ever. With a turnout of about 26,000 people, the AIA annual Architectural Convention in San Antonio, Texas concentrated on the theme of “Growing Beyond Green.”
I had the privilege of attending this massive event, where I saw architects from all over the nation getting re-educated on green design and sustainable techniques. The convention included 4 days of “Green” oriented seminars and an enormous product expo featuring thousands of new and innovative environmental products.
This was a very positive and enlightening experience, and I am glad to see that these ideas are touching such an important group of people. What most people don’t realize, is that architects and builders affect 2/3 of all energy use and emissions in the United States. 1/3 of all energy used, goes toward cooling and heating air in homes and buildings and the other 1/3 is from the transportation and manufacturing of building materials and products. So, as architects, we are more responsible for energy use, carbon emissions and global warming than any other industry. This is why I believe that this week at the AIA convention, “green thinking” has touched the most important and influential group yet.
Historically, art and architecture has created social and political movements, which have shaped and changed societies. I believe that we are on the verge of another such movement, a “Green” movement. With more and more architects taking on a role of responsibility, you will begin to see a massive influx of “Green” and LEED(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings and houses. As architects learn to effectively communicate the social, economical and environmental benefits of “Green” building to their clients, you will see a rise in its popularity. This rise in popularity will be the catalyst that will generate the most change and will ultimately save our lives.
We can stop global warming by simply taking the right steps in our designs and creating efficient homes and buildings witch utilize natural heating and cooling methods and do not rely heavily on HVAC systems as a crutch.