Architecture 2030 chief to NRMCA: Climate solution at building sector’s doorstep

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

Architecture 2030 founder Ed Mazria told attendees at the NRMCA annual convention, San Antonio, that public and private entities’ eye on lower greenhouse gas emissions is driving a transformation in commercial and residential building design and construction methods, affirming, “There’s no holding it back.”

An internationally recognized architect based in Santa Fe, N.M., Mazria has shaped energy and climate change dialogue by bringing the building sector center stage. With residential and nonresidential buildings responsible for nearly half of U.S. energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions—throughout construction and operations phases—he contends, “It is impossible to solve the climate [change] issue without the architecture, engineering and building sector. Regulations won’t do it.”

In his keynote address, he outlined for NRMCA producers his organization’s focus on performance-based, voluntary strategies to address energy demand in the built environment, underscored by the a) 2030 Challenge, enlisting design and construction professionals in a 17-year schedule of reducing fossil fuel consumption in new buildings to a ‘net zero’ point; and, b) 2030 Challenge for Products, in which suppliers and manufacturers cut in half the embodied carbon-equivalent footprint of their building materials or products. Using embodied-carbon product category averages as a baseline, Challenge for Products calls for a 30 percent reduction of that footprint by 2014, followed by additional reductions of 5 percent or higher in five-year increments from 2015 to 2030. The carbon product category averages dovetail an industry’s preparation of Product Category Rules (PCR) and Life Cycle Assessments, plus individual suppliers’ and manufacturers’ Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).

Mazria credited NRMCA and northern California producer member Central Concrete Supply for adopting the Challenge for Products. He likewise cited NRMCA’s recent certification as an EPD Program Operator, enabling it to assist ready mixed producers in issuing EPD for their concrete mixes; and, Central Concrete’s issuance of a EPD, a U.S. ready mixed industry first.