Energy Efficient Buildings: Vintage Chic or New and Refined?
- Jul 23, 2021 10:01 pm GMT
Amazon, one of The Big Five information technology companies in the country, is building a new headquarters in Arlington, VA. The e-commerce company aims to set the bar in innovation and creativity through the construction of their new complex. Based on the project plans, the buildings will earn an LEED Platinum certification, the highest seal of sustainability issued by the U.S. Green Building Council (USBGC). Devoted to green building, the USBGC sent a letter to the Senate Budget Committee urging lawmakers to prioritize their considerations regarding the sector. Currently, the building sector is responsible for 40% of nation’s CO2 emissions. To further address the problem, the Council proposed direct investments such as grant funding toward tax incentives for energy efficiency improvements and the modernization of schools and public buildings. Reaching the requirements of an LEED certification takes much planning and ingenuity on the part of designers, architects and builders. According to Amazon, the complex will “align with Amazon’s Climate Pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040 and advance Arlington and Amazon’s shared commitment to be leaders in the fight against climate change.” However, some find it hard to justify new construction projects while current vacancies are available that can be retrofitted. Comparing the post-construction energy savings that take place over the the next 30 to 50 years of a buildings operational phase with the waste and pollution created by a new construction project has raised a debate. The argument is that the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that occur in the construction of a new building should be carefully considered not just the low emissions of a building after its construction. This ‘embodied carbon’ reflects the sum of all greenhouse gas produced during construction and has researchers looking deeper into the issue. While we await those figures, new construction technology and smart building automation systems are helping reduce the environmental impact of new buildings. Utilizing this technologies, a new high-rise apartment building in Seattle hopes to prove that constructing a net-zero energy building can be far more sustainable than traditional building.
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