U.S. Building Sector Emissions Down – The Driving Force: You!

We begin the New Year with good news!

Projected U.S. building sector energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the year 2030 have declined for eleven straight years since the 2030 Challenge was issued in 2005.

The driving force behind the dramatic decline is the architecture and planning community and our colleagues in the building sector. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2016, projections to the year 2030 for building sector energy consumption (building operations) have declined by 18.5 Quadrillion BTUs since 2005 (or the equivalent of 1,209 coal-fired 250 MW power plants).


With building sector energy consumption continuing to decrease slightly each year, together with the addition of new renewable energy generation and the substitution of lower emissions fuels for coal, total U.S. building sector GHG emissions are dropping dramatically.

emissions_1000According to the EIA, U.S. building sector emissions in 2030 are projected to be 29% below 2005 levels.

Of course, we have been exceeding EIA projections for energy consumption and emissions reductions each year since 2005 – all without any significant congressional legislation for the past 11 years, and with limited state adoption of advanced building energy codes. So, if the past is any indication, we can expect to see building sector emissions drop 35% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This is all good news as the building sector continues to lead the way in U.S. fossil fuel and emissions reductions.

It is clear that an unshakable and independent foundation for resilient and zero carbon planning, building design, and materials and construction is now well established, and as a result, is becoming a worldwide movement unto itself.

“Together we have been, and remain, the driving force behind an evolution to the highest form of design – addressing a new and unprecedented problem, that of climate change and its impact on all of Earth’s life forms.”
– Edward Mazria

As we enter the New Year, we are confident this global phenomenon is here to stay. And the force our community has created will continue to grow through innovation, education, and practice… thanks to all of you!