The Path to Carbon Neutral Architecture
As governments across the globe slowly work to create actionable plans for climate change, architects have banded together to work towards carbon neutrality on their own. The construction industry produces a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions, up to 40 per cent. Architectural firms have realised that it is time to make a change, and Sydney architects have joined in the plans to offset and minimise emissions wherever possible in the construction process. Each year, climate change is becoming more apparent, with record temperatures, out-of-control bushfires, floods, and droughts. It’s time for companies to work towards the national carbon offset standards. But what exactly are we Sydney residential architects doing to help the climate stabilise?
What Architects Are Doing to Reach Net Zero Emissions
In the past, architects have contributed to the global emissions problem. Now, we are taking responsibility to lead the charge for a solution. Working together, we can drive climate change and create solutions for sustainability in Australia. Here’s how firms are getting started towards net zero emissions.
Practice What We Preach
To create credibility with our clients, we demonstrate that we are serious about our carbon emissions. To work towards carbon neutrality, we are switching to green power and purchasing carbon offsets. These are easy solutions to quickly put us on the right path.
Of course, we can’t offset what we don’t know. Architects across Australia are measuring emissions by conducting an audit to determine exactly what their carbon footprint is. By taking these climate active actions, we are being rewarded with greater employee engagement, which results in better quality for our clients.
Currently, in Australia, 970 architectural firms have committed to net zero emissions.
How Architects Are Reaching Net Zero Emissions
While each architectural firm is doing its part to drastically reduce carbon emissions, each firm has its own methods and resources for reaching this state. Many are working with cities and governments because they can have a direct impact on emissions in their communities. Together, we are:
Upgrading Buildings. We are updating energy sources for existing buildings, large and small, getting these buildings switched over to green energy usage. We are also upgrading these buildings so they are more energy-efficient.
New Construction. New buildings are being built to use green fuel from the get-go. These buildings are also being constructed for energy efficiency. Buildings are being erected with materials that have minimal or zero embodied carbon. This starts in the design phase and takes into consideration infrastructure, landscape, and even the interior finishes of the building.
Purchasing Renewable Energy. Using green energy is key to sustainability. As architects, we understand that while the buildings we design must be energy-efficient, we must also start using renewable resources ourselves. By switching our own power source to green energy, we can offset our own daily emissions. This can be done through sustainable design strategies and sometimes generating our own renewable energy. Green energy may include wind power, solar power, and even hydrogen power.
Offsetting Carbon Emissions. There are several ways for companies to offset their carbon emissions, many of which allow them to contribute funds to projects throughout the world. These projects are specifically designed to offset carbon emissions and range from reducing deforestation to creating green energy plants to building energy-efficient appliances for third world countries.
Educating for Sustainability. By educating cities, governments, and citizens about the best uses of energy in their buildings and homes, we can help them understand the importance of creating a sustainable net zero culture for future generations.
What Are Buck & Simple Architects Doing?
As architects, we embrace our role in guiding and facilitating sustainable design objectives, and we understand the key role that architecture plays in the environment that surrounds us. We know that the world is facing a real crisis and that leading by example is the best way to face this crisis. We are committed to producing environmentally sustainable buildings with sustainable resources to preserve and enrich our environment. Within our own studio, we implement many strategies, initiatives, and programs to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint.
Our latest program aims to restore the natural landscape and reconnect habitats by linking small patches of remaining vegetation to create a 200km corridor from inland to the coast. Our Plant a Tree Program partner, Carbon Neutral, stated, ”Our 2021 planting was completed late last month. We actually exceeded the total planned planting area, finishing up with more than 600ha of newly established plantings across 2 of our properties.
The early rains from TC Seroja were very welcome to help prepare the ground for planting. As we do each year, we planted via direct seeding as well as planting nursery-raised seedlings. The total mix across the 2 sites for 2021 was 66 indigenous species. It’s super important that we maintain our focus on enhancing the biodiversity across our planting sites.”
Buck & Simple architects in Manly understand that if we don’t take a stand, no one will. It’s up to us to preserve the world for future generations. If you’re ready to design a net zero carbon building, contact us today.