Interview with Edward Mazria, Founder & CEO, Architecture 2030
Edward Mazria is the founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, a think tank developing real-world solutions for 21st century problems. On his recent visit to India, in an interview with Shubham Singh, he gave an overview of his work that has inspired innovative thinking and actionable solutions.
In 2014, Mazria presented Roadmap to Zero Emissions at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The roadmap laid out a flexible approach to achieve zero carbon emissions in the built environment by mid-century. He also issued the 2050 Imperative adopted by the International Union of Architects, which outlined a commitment to plan and design to carbon neutral standards. The commitment has been accepted by regional professional organizations representing over 1.3 million architects across 124 countries.
What is the concept behind Architecture 2030?
Architecture 2030 looks at the problem of energy consumption, efficiency and most importantly climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. We’re a non-profit think tank transforming climate change problems into solutions through the design of the built environment.This is to bring the building sector by 2030 to a point where the entire building sector is powered by renewable energy. The way to achieve it is through integrating sustainable and passive design strategies and providing fossil-fuel-free energy from on-site renewables or from accessing district or utility-scale renewable energy produced off-site.We work with the architecture community in USA, cities, government, engineers, developers, and planners in order to phase out fossil fuels by the year 2030.
How do you look at the current scenario of Green construction?
Till 10-15 years ago, the concept of green buildings was non-existent. It was around year 2007 that the experts in the field of design & construction realized that the building sector was one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, designing with sustainability and high performance has become an important consideration in minds of all the stakeholders across the world. The Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 set a clear target of limiting the global average temperature increase above pre-industrial levels to less than 2 degrees C, and work towards keeping it under 1.5 degrees. Accordingly, the global building construction community has a great responsibility and an opportunity to make a real difference. India and China are the two countries in the world where maximum infrastructure and building construction is happening. Good news is that both the countries have pledged their commitment to Paris Agreement on climate change.
How should we design the built environment going forward?
By dramatically reducing demand, through careful planning and by harnessing renewable energy resources like solar, wind and water, buildings can substantially eliminate the need to burn fossil fuels. On the other end by reducing consumption of building materials like concrete, steel, gypsum, plastics, fabrics etc. and using materials with low carbon content also helps minimizing the carbon footprint. The 2030 Palette developed by Architecture 2030 provides the guiding principles for this solution-oriented approach. It is an interactive online tool that puts the principles behind low-carbon and resilient built environments at the fingertips of architects, planners and designers worldwide.
Architecture 2030 association with stakeholders worldwide
Shortly after Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge, it found its first adopter in the American Institute of Architects. To date, the 2030 Challenge has been taken by many organizations including – U.S. Green Building Council, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Ontario Association of Architects, Congress for the New Urbanism, American Solar Energy Society, Society of Building Science Educators, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, National Wildlife Federation, Union Internationale des Architectes, American Society of Interior Designers, and numerous universities, businesses, professional offices, and organizations nationwide.