Mayors from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver met last week to discuss green technology’s role in reducing carbon emissions. In an urban context buildings account for over half of all emissions, followed closely by traffic pollutants and energy production.
As a result of the forum, Canadian mayors have pledged that all new buildings would operate at net zero carbon by 2030. This comes as part of the larger Paris Agreement to reduct total carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.
In May 2017, Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) launched a Zero Carbon Building Standard, which pinpointed carbon emissions as the key indicator of building performance. The standard was developed after extensive consultation with representatives from over 50 industry organizations, utilities, governments and companies across Canada.
A “Net Zero Energy” building is one in which 100% of all energy needs are created on site or from renewable sources. For example, the building could be powered by solar energy, or wind, rather than gas or coal.
How will these measures affect urban planning and architecture?
Firstly, buildings will need to meet energy efficient targets, indicating that they consume as little energy as possible. Green building trends include using building materials which are energy efficient, and produced with a low carbon footprint.
Next, new buildings will need to produce the energy required to fuel themselves. Taller, dense buildings are likely to come into fashion, with ample rooftop space for solar panels. Homes are also more likely to use smart technology to monitor and regulate energy consumption levels.
With the upsurge of sustainable building technology, we can hope to soon see more resilient and environmentally responsible buildings within our cities.
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