Since November 2015, nearly two hundred countries have joined and adopted “The Paris Agreement” to limit global warming to below 2° Celsius. As part of this agreement, members have committed to having all buildings (new and existing) be net-zero carbon by 2050.
With Built Environment contributing over 40% of global carbon emissions, the sector needs a holistic approach that leverages policies to overcome long-understood barriers to decarbonization. It is imperative to remember that Climate change is a global emergency, and decarbonization of the Built Environment is crucial to address it; that requires coordinated efforts and cooperation among all stakeholders like architects, engineers, designers, builders, developers, and owners of the built environment.
Role of Gen-Z
According to the projections from a report by the United Nations, the world population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. Nearly 7 out of 10 people will live in cities, putting tremendous pressure on current and future urban infrastructure needs.
Now is the time to plan a comprehensive decarbonized approach and pursue its implementation diligently as a matter of prime concern.
Being a Gen-Z Engineer myself, I believe, our generation of built environment professionals need to take it upon us to engage, demand, and push our country, state, city, and organization leaders to make decarbonization of the built environment a top priority and work towards it.
In 2020, we witnessed a significant decline of over 6% in global carbon emissions due to the pandemic, providing a unique view on the climate challenge that lies ahead of our planet. According to the recent UN estimates, the world would need to cut carbon emissions by 7.6% per year to meet the under 2-degree goal for the next decade.
In New York, Air pollution was reduced by nearly 50% because of measures taken to control the virus (Henriques, 2020). Also, about 50% reduction of N2O and CO occurred due to the shutdown of heavy industries in China (Caine, 2020). But this only makes sense when we don’t let these numbers go higher from here.
Digitalization of Built Environment
The pandemic has also stipulated digitalization in the construction sector as an opportunity to reduce global emissions. Digitalization of the built environment is the crucial piece of the decarbonization puzzle. Digitalization will promote transparency and empower people, resulting in data-driven informed decision making early on across the project lifecycle, reducing waste and encouraging reducing carbon emissions. It is essential to understand and measure carbon footprint in-depth across the project lifecycle and associated costs and savings. We need to measure it to improve it. Digitalization and democratization of data can help all the stakeholders of the built environment achieve this.
According to industry reports, 70% of Digital transformations fail, which needs to change. To change these odds, built environment firms will need to partner with the AEC industry, dedicated technology, and services partners to assist them in the journey.
Hloov’s Digital First framework for Digital Transformation helps the built environment firms to understand the industry’s shift, spot inflection point opportunities, and reimagine their businesses to seize them to make their transformation journey better and successful. Our Digital Frist approach helps owners, developers, designers, and Construction firms succeed in their Digital Transformation journey and achieve business objectives while meeting carbon emission goals.
The climate crisis demands the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry leaders to continue decarbonizing their building, infrastructure assets, cities, and countries as their priority. To deliver on this vision of Net-Zero infrastructure assets, the whole project ecosystem stakeholders need to come together; alone, all of us will fail, and together, we won’t.