The lifestyle of Americans and the resources used in the country has led to the highest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG): 20, 2 metric tons per person per capita in 2008. This includes land use changes and international bunkers of CO₂e trading. On Nov. 25, 2009, the White House announced during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen that their goal by 2050 is to reduce GHG’s emissions by 83%. Currently, buildings are responsible for 48% of all GHG emissions and 78% of electricity consumption in the U.S. According to the AIA’s (American Institute of Architects) 2030 Agenda, all new buildings need to be carbon neutral in 2030. However, only several local projects are achieving the AIA 2030 goals. Since GHG emissions and climate change are caused at an ever increasing speed, it is overdue for a paradigm shift in the way the U.S. is locally performing in education, in design and planning, and in global resource use measuring. Another challenge is how the U.S., who has approximately 81.4% of the population living in low density areas with only 31 people per km², can reduce GHG’s, despite expected population and land use growth without having to compromise on living standards or risking a slowdown in economic growth. The author will examine if the United States is able to reduce resources used in buildings and cities using nationwide energy-saving models. These renovations would have to include sustainable lifestyles and consumer rituals as part of a new low carbon society. This article investigates how the U.S. can achieve their goals of carbon neutrality from buildings in 2030 and reduce GHG’s emissions by 2050.
|Keywords:||Carbon-Neutral, Greenhouse Gas Emmissions, AIA Agenda 2030, Energy Saving, Sustainability|
Professor and Co-Director, Environmental Technology Lab, Area of Sustainability and Design, Environmental Systems, Advanced Systems Integration, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA