The Net Zero Building Boom Is Ready to Scale

While the cultural and infrastructural changes necessary to eliminate carbon emissions from the transportation sector still seem far-fetched, scaling up a net zero building boom is “eminently possible.”

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April 12, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The exterior and main entrance of the United States of America Embassy in London. The building is modern and sleek.

The United States of America Embassy building is designed to deflect solar heat and prevent bird strikes. | William Barton / Shutterstock

An article by James S. Russell for Bloomberg reports on the emissions reductions available almost immediately if efficiency measures are prioritized in buildings.

According to Russell, an “ever-growing panoply of efficiency measures” such as better insulation, improved heating and air-conditioning, less-polluting appliances could rapidly decarbonize the building sector. “By 2030, almost all new buildings could consume zero net energy — net meaning there’s some give and take from the grid to equal zero use.”

According to various experts cited in the article, all the building sector needs is an economy of scale to achieve massive reductions in energy use.

“Acting at scale is so eminently possible.” -Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Futures Institute (IFLI)

The article cites examples provided by organizations like IFLI, multiple architects and engineers, and concepts like the passive house to show the way to net zero buildings everywhere.

“There’s no shortage of compelling reasons to encourage emission-cutting tools and tactics such as these, whether to conserve cash, save the planet or undermine petro-tyrants,” writes Russell to summarize the case for building efficiency. “Here’s one more: The race to net zero would trigger a U.S. green-job-building boom.”

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