"Given the shortening timeline for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is imperative that governments committed to doing so have a readily assessable way to begin realizing reductions in their building sector," writes Ed Mazria, FAIA, and Kristina Kershner in a recently released report, Meeting the 2030 Challenge Through Building Codes. "The 2030 Challenge code equivalents listed in Table A [of that report] provide a simple, practicable solution using existing building energy codes and rating systems. By amending existing codes based on these code equivalents, governments can be confident that their codes meet the initial 50 percent reduction target of the 2030 Challenge."
That challenge is a key element—along with building no more coal-fired power plants—of Mazria's Architecture 2030 efforts.
The AIA has adopted the 2030 goal of halving carbon emissions from buildings by 2010 and eliminating emissions entirely by 2030 and has worked successfully with state, local, and national organizations and public officials to make this goal a part of everyone's building-performance agenda.
Even the Bush Administration, which has long downplayed the threat of global warming due to elevated levels of greenhouse gases, has joined the international effort to reduce those gases, although at a much slower pace than the 2030 Challenge. At the G-8 Summit July 8 in Japan, the president joined in the G-8 agreement to "consider and adopt" overall greenhouse-gas reductions of at least 50 percent as part of a new U.N. treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.
Cracking the code
Because the initial 2030 target goal is so immediate—50 percent over the next two years—Mazria's team developed a quick-reference table, "2030 Challenge Interim Code Equivalents" in the above-referenced report that shows at a glance how far beyond existing codes and standards a building-performance target needs to be set to achieve a 50 percent carbon emissions reduction. Specifically, the table references:
California Title 24
Oregon Energy Code
Washington Energy Code
RESNET HERS Index
LEED NC 2.2
Although the AIA Board-appointed discussion group on sustainability has not commented on the validity of the Mazria report and table, they are currently reviewing it. Further, 2007 AIA President RK Stewart, FAIA, is supportive. "Using the recommendations offered in [Meeting the 2030 Challenge Through Building Codes] to improve energy performance beyond current regulations and standards will enable us to act both decisively and immediately to bring energy use in the building sector under control," he said.
And how might the 50-percent reduction target be met? For that, Architecture 2030 offers The 2030 Blueprint.