The climate emergency requires us to act now. What are the challenges of the building sector now and over the next 30 years? What are the critical interim and long term carbon targets? How do we begin to address them through planning and policy, design and practice, building and manufacturing?

Over the next 4 decades, the world is projected to construct 230 billion square meters (2.5 trillion square feet) of buildings, an area roughly equal to the current worldwide building stock, or the equivalent of adding another New York City to the planet every 34 days for the next 40 years.

CarbonPositive outlines an immediate and comprehensive plan of action for rapidly decarbonizing all aspects of the building sector, and strategies for planning, designing, building and manufacturing a future where buildings, developments and entire cities are constructed to use sustainable resources, generate surplus renewable energy, and convert atmospheric carbon into durable materials and products.

This content was produced thanks to funding from the AIA California as part of the CarbonPositive Conference, a partnership between Architect Magazine and Architecture 2030.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the building sector’s current contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions and to the world’s remaining 2°C carbon budget.
  • Identify impactful planning and design strategies for reducing both operational and embodied carbon in cities and in new and existing buildings.
  • Identify the relative impact of different building systems on a project’s overall embodied carbon footprint and outline ways to improve material specification, select alternatives and optimize material use.
  • Discuss key measures that the AEC profession can enact through professional practice, voluntary industry commitments and policy advocacy to drive decarbonization of the building sector at the local, state and national levels.

Pre-Requisite: None.