AIA, US Conference of Mayors Adopt the 2030 Challenge

Thanks to the efforts of E-News subscribers, the AIA, and the sponsorship of mayors from the four corners of the U.S., Albuquerque, Chicago, Seattle and Miami, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) formally adopted ‘The 2030 CHALLENGE’ in June, 2006.

U.S. mayors sent the clear message that local leaders are willing to take action on the important issues of climate change and energy independence. And they are taking action. Mayors from 17 Texas cities, including Austin, Dallas and Houston, have formed a group, Texas Cities for Clean Air Coalition, to prevent the construction of more than a dozen new coal fired power plants in the state.

A grassroots movement is taking hold as the Challenge has now formally been adopted by the 78,000 member American Institute of Architects (AIA), the City of Santa Fe, the County of Sarasota and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Globally, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) North America unanimously passed support for Architecture 2030 and embedded its targets in their “Statement of Action” that was passed at the ICLEI Congress in July, 2006. A more formal endorsement process will be brought forward in November at the annual meeting of the ICLEI Executive Committee, the governing council that represents all ICLEI member nations.

However, policy alone cannot bring about the changes necessary in the Building Sector to effectively address dangerous interference with our climate system: professional design education must also play a key role. It is critical that design schools educate their students so they are ready to meet this new reality in the workplace.

In the coming months we will issue THE 2010 IMPERATIVE to all professional design schools around the world, asking them to implement specific strategies to achieve complete ecological literacy in design education by 2010. To encourage quick action in the educational community, we will follow the announcement with an interactive Global Emergency Design Teach-In. Stay tuned. In this issue, we are highlighting a new project by architects Kiss+Cathcart to be built in New York. This project is designed to be not only carbon neutral, but to produce more energy than it consumes. It is but one of many examples of firms that are now incorporating carbon neutral design into their practices. Solar 2 Educational Facility by Kiss+Cathcart Architects Lobby Telenor Headquarters PlanSolar 2 is the new building project designed by Kiss+Cathcart Architects for New York environmental non-profit Solar One, a project of the Community Environmental Center (CEC). This new and larger facility reflects the growing demand for Solar One’s environmental educational services.

The building itself is a case study, weaving the natural and urban world into its programmed spaces and illustrating how natural systems can be used in urban buildings to reduce and eliminate fossil fuel energy use. Among its most striking features, the building incorporates a large ‘greenscreen’ to block unwanted eastern sunlight while serving as a physical reference to the building’s environmental design features, in fact creating a porous barrier within which the urban and natural environments are weaved.

Features incorporated into the building design to reduce fossil fuel energy consumption include: Design: -Natural ventilation: wind-induced and stack-driven ventilatio n. -Roof monitors and windows for daylighting -Greenscreen -Recycled materials Technology: -85 kW array of PVs: The array is estimated to generate 92,716 kWh per year, about 108% of the projected demand of 86,030 kWh per year. -Low wattage fixtures -50% efficient elevator -Ground source heat pump For more information on this building please visit: Solar 1 Kiss + Cathcart Architects CEC All images used with permission from Solar 1 First page: south view This page top: first floor lobby This page bottom: systems diagram

Case Study: Telenor Headquarters Complex, Norway

NBBJs Telenor Headquarters. Fornebu, Norway.

NBBJ’s Telenor Headquarters. Fornebu, Norway.

Architects: NBBJ

Telenor Headquarters PlanThe Telenor Headquarters Complex is framed by two openended and over-lapping curved boulevards that define a central plaza. Four office wings connect to each boulevard at clearly defined circulation nodes. The design of this project was inspired by its site and takes full advantage of its natural surroundings. The Building is a metaphor that references both the former airport (on which this building is sited) and the ships/sails on the Oslo fjord. The design also articulates the new wireless contacts of a global information technology center.

High Performance Design:

Telenor reports that the building’s energy consumption, per employee, is about half of what it was in its older facilities. Consumption was 14,000 kilowatt-hours per person per year in the old buildings and 7,000 kilowatt-hours per person per year in its new headquarters. The following strategies contribute to the buildings energy performance:

Passive Solar and daylight:

The overall layout and design of the 2 million square feet office complex maximizes the envelope surface for natural ventilation and for daylight to reduce energy consumption caused by cooling loads and artificial lighting. As part of the passive solar heating strategy, the building on the south side is 2 stories shorter than the building on the north (the north building is 5 stories while the south building is only 3 stories) letting the low winter sun reach the entire glazed facade of the north building.

An advanced double exterior skin was used for 15 % of the building’s curtain walls, with the space between the glazing incorporating the flow of warm air in winter and cool air in summer. The double skin also allows for regulated natural ventilation and daylighting, as well as noise control. Mechanically operated exterior sunshades reduce solar gain in summer and electronic photo cells/sensors control glare when the sun is too intense.

Atrium spaces between office wings are designed to capture direct sunlight in winter and provide for daylight to adjacent offices throughout the year. Daylight reaches almost all corners of the building and floor plates are never more than 15 meters deep. No work place is located more than 9 meters from an exterior glass wall to provide daylight and views for all staff. Operable windows allow for natural ventilation when the weather permits.

Telenor Headquarters Inner Courtyard

“Comfort cooling” with chilled ceilings:

Model of Telenor HeadquartersThe design of the mechanical cooling and heating systems take advantage of the building’s waterfront location. Cool water is circulated through ventilation ducts as well as in each building’s ceiling elements. Warm water leaves the building and is re-cooled via a heat-exchange system that utilizes cold water from the nearby North Sea/Oslo fjord. This system provides 80% of the building’s heating and cooling needs.

The heat pump is powered mainly by water from the North Sea. Water is heated using electricity, and its steam is compressed to to become a high-pressure vapor that eventually travels through the building’s radiators.

Automation System:

The innovative cooling and heating systems precipitated the development of a complete building automation system (BAS). The building’s major systems – HVAC, lighting, electricity, conveyance – are connected together digitally by a centralized energy management system (EMS). The electronic devices that run the building’s system speak a digital language called LON (for Local Operating Network). LON allows these devices to be configured for maximum efficiency, share data and communicate with each other. The HVAC system powers down when the building – or portions of it – are unoccupied. The lighting system is also “scenario controlled”, meaning lights are adjusted automatically when sunlight levels changes or when people enter or exit. With this system one does not use more energy than one actually needs.

Telenor Headquarters Outside Courtyard

Mazria to Address US Conference of Mayors

Architecture 2030 continues its dialogue with professional organizations and government at all levels in an effort to implement the targets outlined in the“2030 Challenge”.

The Architecture 2030 message will be delivered in a keynote speech by Edward Mazria at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Emergency Summit on Energy and the Environment, May 11, 2006 in Chicago. At the summit, a letter from the president of the American Institute of Architects, Katherine Schwennsen, will be delivered urging mayors to adopt the 2030 targets.

Also, a resolution calling for cities to adopt the “2030 Challenge” for all city funded buildings has been introduced to the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) by Albuquerque’s Mayor Martin J. Chavez, Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Miami’s Mayor Manny Diaz.

The USCM will vote on the resolution during its upcoming Las Vegas meeting June 2-6.

A Historic Moment

(Excerpt from the article “Beauty and the Beast”,  by Ed Mazria which  appeared in the April 2006 Issue of Design Intelligence Magazine.)

Throughout most of the twentieth century, contemporary global architecture has been characterized by a reliance on seemingly inexpensive fossil-fuel powered “active” technology to the exclusion of other factors. We are currently dependent on the mechanical control of sealed indoor environments, rather than the designed exploitation of climatic and other natural processes, to satisfy our comfort requirements. As a result, today we can see the same basic building type in all climatic regions throughout the world. And so we have become prisoners of complicated mechanical systems, since a minor power or equipment failure, or fossil fuel delivery disruption, can make many contemporary buildings uninhabitable.

Historically, significant transformations in building design and planning have always followed great world events, and as such serve as a record of the times. In some instances, as with the Industrial Revolution and the grand engineering structures that followed, architecture has reluctantly held on to the past until pushed into the present. There is always a concept, a spark, a significant event that ignites the profession and seems to turn it in another direction, grab its attention. We are, I believe, at one of these moments. Never before in human history has the earth been so threatened, and never before has the design community been challenged to lead the world in a new direction, helping it avert large scale dislocations and setting the tone for international cooperation as we struggle to stem the tide of global warming.

We have all heard the arguments surrounding climate change, from impending doom and draconian GHG reduction measures at one end of the spectrum to the destruction of the global economy and the characterization of global warming as fiction, at the other end. Each extreme cites only the information that suits its cause and ignores the rest. Nevertheless, the latest scientific data recently published confirms that we do have a serious global warming problem, that it is human-caused and that we humans must now take reasonable measures to address the situation. The studies I draw your attention to include:

The “2030 Challenge” clearly outlines a global strategy to immediately stabilize and begin reducing building sector GHG emissions, with the goal of realizing a 60% to 80% reduction below today’s level by 2050. What makes this strategy unique is that it is mostly achievable through design, through creative problem solving and the application of information and innovation, the very elements that are the foundation of the design professions.

There is no short-term or long-term GHG reduction solution possible without involving the global design community. To date, this community has not been invited to participate in meetings, policy setting sessions or UN and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) gatherings regarding climate change. This illustrates that the scientific community, government and general public do not really understand what architects, planners and designers do and how central their role is in crafting meaningful mitigation strategies. With time running short, and abrupt rather than gradual climate change looming as a distinct possibility, the design community must be quickly engaged.

> You can read the full article here

A Global Emergency . . . and a Call to Action


This has been a remarkable month. Architecture 2030 has received an enthusiastic reception by the architecture and building community. We have received hundreds of congratulatory emails, extensive press coverage and thousands of visits to our website. As we begin a new
year we are encouraged by a recognition among design professionals of their responsibility for both the built and natural environment. Recently, the presidents of 16 of the world’s leading architecture institutions signed the “Las Vegas Declaration” calling on the profession to “do all it can to influence a major reduction in the level of carbon emissions that result from the creation and life-cycle of the built environment.” In December, 2005 the American Institute of
Architects (AIA) adopted the action items called for in the “2030 Challenge” (see below) and is now working to implement them. And just last month, New Mexico became the first state to require that all state funded new buildings and renovations meet a building energy performance  standard of 50% less than the national average for that building type.

However, not all the news is good. NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen continues to warn us that climate change is not only happening, but happening faster than anticipated. It appears that we have a small window of opportunity to stabilize and then reduce greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions globally.

Now more than ever we must join together in the effort to control emissions from the building sector. To accomplish this, today we are issuing the “2030 Challenge”. You can join by showing your support and urging local, national, and international architecture, planning, and  building design organizations to adopt the challenge and lobby governments at all levels to pass orders and legislation incorporating the measures called for below.

Working together we can design a better future.



Recently, it was reported in the New York Times that (it appears) procedures are being put in place at NASA to prevent “the public from fully grasping recent findings regarding climate change”. This comes in response to a lecture recently delivered at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco by Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. In his lecture titled “Is There Time to Avoid ‘Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference’ With Global Climate?” Dr. Hansen presented two startling conclusions regarding recent research conducted at NASA.

First he presented “evidence indicating that the Earth’s climate is nearing, but has not passed, a tipping point”. He estimates that if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are not brought under control in the next ten years the Earth would experience “warming of more than 1ºC that will make the Earth warmer than it has been in a million years”. In a “business-as-usual” scenario, with emissions continuing to increase at about 2% per year, Dr. Hansen stated that the Earth would experience “warming of 2 or 3°C this century and imply changes that constitute practically a different planet”.

Second, and even more alarming, he stressed that changes to the planet included not only loss of the Arctic as we know it, but “losses on a much vaster scale due to worldwide rising seas”. As the “Greenland and West Antarctic ice is softened and lubricated by melt-water and as buttressing ice shelves disappear due to a warming ocean, the balance will tip toward ice loss, thus bringing multiple positive feedbacks into play and causing rapid ice sheet disintegration”. He concluded that the Earth’s history suggests that with a warming of 2-3°C the new equilibrium sea level will be “of the order of 25 meters (80 feet)” higher than today. He pointed out that real world data suggest substantial ice sheet and sea level change in centuries, not millennia”, possibly by as much as several meters per century.

Other scientists have confirmed Dr. Hansen’s conclusions. Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Environmental Studies Laboratory at the University of Arizona points out that “the earth will be warm enough in less than 150 years (assuming no reduction in GHG emissions) to melt the Greenland Ice Cap (six meter rise in sea level). This change could also lead to four to six meters of sea level rise at a rate of up to two to five centimeters per year.” The good news from all this is that there is time to act now.