Are Architects and Builders responsible for some 40% CO2 emissions?

"Nearly all of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the residential and commercial sectors can be attributed to energy use in buildings"

"Almost 40 % of CO2 emissions come from the building industry."

UNEP SBCI Sustainable Buildings & Climate Initiative
"...buildings contribute as much as one third of total global greenhouse gas emissions"

Aesthetically designed buildings are nice on the eye, but without consideration of certain creature comforts, have architects lost sight of what they are building?

In an energy conscious world,  wherever there are energy losses in buildings, it impacts indoor comfort, financial comfort and even planet comfort.

This is becoming more apparent as we realize energy waste adds as much as 1/4 energy consumption. 

As we approach climate change, several energy tipping-points are raising their profiles to become alluringly apparent.

These include 70 billion animals (that we eat) that consume disproportionate resources of food and water - when compared to raising alternatives like fruits and vegetables. Climate change awareness tells us food and water may become scarce and sensibility speaks to us to consider alternatives.

In architecture, it has become apparent "lack of insulation" allows the energy used to heat and cool your home simply to escape. Houses are not designed to make efficient use of energy but are reliant upon energy, air-conditioning and heaters, to make a comfortable home. Most of this energy comes from fossil and contributes to climate change.

It's not just CO2 from coal-fired power stations, cars, planes and fuel, it's from all industrial mechanisms that use the energy derived from fossil power. Hence we must include the chain of all processes that utilise fossil energy to deliver their products and services... air-conditioning and heaters.

The figures of 33-40% are quite alarming and especially because they are under the radar of awareness.

There is much talk of saving energy at home by switching appliances, switching lights off, and how effective insulation can be to save energy, but that's as they say, "after the horse has bolted". Applying insulation after a house is built just shows how lacking it was in the original design.

And here is where the rubber meets the road. A well designed house doesn't require much energy (or expense) to keep it cool in summer and warm in winter.

I was privy to a conversation as an architect explained his winter heating energy bill being $2000.00 (or was it $1400?) - it was a lot. Everyone was nodding their heads in agreement so I suggested something I glanced reading last week, a Tromp wall (a wall that captures the suns heat and releases it at night) but perhaps an awkward situation arose. Not sure if they would be suitable anyway, it was just polite conversation.

It wasn't my problem, it was his $2000 winter bill, but it sparked my interest - about if there was a solution.

If you have to use a lot of energy to heat and cool your home, it's costing you and the environment.

People glass houses pay large energy bills... but if you own the power company it doesn't matter.

The architect obviously can afford to pay the $2000 electricity bill but does he remedy his self-complaint by insulating his own home next year or more importantly, does he attend to insulating the buildings he designs? Are they heavy CO2 emitters?

When energy leaks it's not only a money leak, it's an emissions leak.

Professionals like architects aren't necessarily aware of everything - and will bring in specialized experts - like for heating and cooling - the air-conditioning man - but perhaps the responsibility is first upon the designer of the house and/or building - the architect.

Hence the ladder misses a run in the name of progress leap-frogging knowledge forming gaps, just wide enough to be out of vision and out of responsibility of their climate change legacy.

It's not only just an embarrassing dilemma that can be addressed, and will be, but continuing ignorance may one day be considered a climate crime.

Heat escaping, money out the window!

40% global CO2 emissions is not hard to believe when the bill for one winter house is $2000.00.

Insulation is not rocket science, and it doesn't have to be expensive and over the life of the building more than 50% energy costs are saved. That's $2000 each winter for the life of the building, say 50 years.

Does his architect associates have a similar attitude? Do architects need to become more aware? Some architects are becoming aware, some are acting, but alas it appears some have no clue.

At a staggering 40% global CO2 emissions they all need to know.

"Built by eCCS"

The up-sell lead to the development of a new sustainable insulation material that was easy to manufacture, suitable for buildings and housing whilst being very cost effective. An eco sustainable material that was grown from the seed and could return to the land without a trace of pollution... and we think it's the best insulator and building material on the planet! We call it "eCCS" for Ecological Carbon Capture & Storage as it also sequesters and stores CO2!

"Built by eCCS" is the beginnings of X Architectonics - adopting an organic holistic eco sustainable solution.

A new standard of Eco Sustainable Architecture and the beginnings of true ESD, Ecologically Sustainable Development realised as X Architectonics and SEEED Home-farms.


My research also led me to China, to BSB Broad Sustainable Buildings with the sustainable architect of the century, Zhang Yue. 

Zhang has developed a sustainable building technology that is out of this world.