This year, COP28 is holding between November 30 and December 12, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Before the conference starts, China and the United States have come to a statement on enhance cooperation on climate. This important sign of commitment by the world’s two largest economies can be a key building block for progress. Read on the news about this agreement here.
Architects occupy a unique position at the intersection of creativity and functionality, making them indispensable agents in the fight against climate change. As COP27 restated the significance of reducing carbon emissions across the board, it is an opportunity to realize the important consequences for the building industry.
What is a COP Summit?
COP summits are Conferences Of the Parties where countries gather to discuss and coordinate global efforts to address climate change. The meetings are held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and cover topics like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate impacts, financing, and technology transfer.
What to Expect from COP28
Let’s make it simple. What can we expect (or hope for) from COP28?
1. Client finance issues
After years of advocating for dedicated funding, developing countries and economies united to push for progress in 2022 in COP27. This is to aid countries facing the consequences of a climate crisis they played a minor role in causing. Now, after a year, it’s time to see what have been done and their results.
2. The ocean
As some ocean conferences in 2022 have led to commitments and pledges addressing ocean challenges, there must be more to expect in COP28. There is an expected mainstreaming of the ocean into global consciousness, focusing on ocean-based solutions for climate change, food security, and energy stability.
3. Oil and gas
COP28 is set to focus on the oil and gas sector, emphasizing its greenhouse gas emissions and its role in the future energy landscape. The summit offers a chance to implement measures that steer the industry towards becoming a solution to environmental challenges. We should not miss this.
Apart from the above items, there are more to pay attention to in COP28. For example, IPCC’s implementation of client change agreement, and the role of sub-national actions.
What Architects can do on Sustainable Design in COP28
COP28 has been organized around four cross-cutting themes: Technology and Innovation; Inclusion; Frontline Communities and Finance. These themes focus on addressing the root causes of climate change and effectively managing the consequences of a warming planet. When facing global climate change, architects find themselves at a pivotal crossroads, armed with the power to shape a sustainable future. The built environment, long considered a contributor to carbon emissions, is now a canvas for innovative solutions that can mitigate climate impact. Hence, architects, as the visionaries of urban landscapes, play a crucial role in decarbonization efforts.
1. Energy-Efficient Design
Architects are redefining the blueprint for energy efficiency. Through strategic design choices that harness natural light, optimize heating and cooling, and employ energy-efficient materials, they are creating structures that minimize energy consumption. The focus is on sustainable buildings that not only reduce operational energy use but also enhance occupant comfort. For example, energy-efficient façades can be both protective and visually-striking.
2. Green Building Certifications
Architects are champions of green building certifications such as LEED and BREEAM. These standards ensure that structures adhere to rigorous sustainability criteria, encompassing everything from energy efficiency to material selection. Certification not only validates a commitment to the environment but also raises the bar for the entire industry.
3. Use Environmentally-Friendly Materials
Such as timber and bamboo. They both have a rich historical reference as construction materials. With time changing, they has experienced a renewed surge in popularity. Because of their eco-friendly qualities and technology advancement, they could be the perfect construction materials in proper regions. Let’s take wood for instance. Utilizing timber in construction offers a significant advantage – it can contribute to carbon-negative building practices. When wood is harvested sustainably and used in construction, it continues to store carbon, essentially sequestering it from the atmosphere. Check out the tallest timber-structured tower in the world here and here.
Innovations in materials science also present opportunities for architects to explore carbon-capturing materials. Carbon-negative concrete, for instance, absorbs more carbon dioxide during its production than it emits, helping to offset the carbon footprint associated with construction. By actively seeking and implementing these materials and techniques, architects contribute to the decarbonization of the construction industry.
4. Retrofitting and Adaptive Reuse
While new construction projects present opportunities for sustainable design, architects can make an equally impactful contribution through retrofitting and adaptive reuse of existing structures. Transforming old buildings into energy-efficient, modern spaces not only preserves cultural heritage but also reduces the need for new construction, minimizing embodied carbon. If you’re looking for such kind of design competitions, please keep updated on our International Architectural Design Competition information here.
Architects can integrate energy-efficient systems, such as smart lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies, into retrofitted buildings. This approach not only enhances the overall performance of existing structures but also aligns with the principles of circular economy by extending the lifespan of buildings and reducing waste.
5. Net-Zero and Positive-Energy Buildings
The concept of net-zero and positive-energy buildings is gaining traction in the architectural community. Architects can design structures that generate as much or more energy than they consume, thus contributing positively to the energy grid. This can be achieved through a combination of renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, coupled with energy-efficient design strategies.
Net-zero and positive-energy buildings not only reduce the demand for fossil fuels but also showcase the potential for sustainable living. By incorporating these principles into their projects, architects act as pioneers in the transition towards a carbon-neutral built environment.
It is important to know that architects are not just designers of spaces; they are architects of change. They’re actively contributing to the global effort to combat climate change. With their innovative designs, commitment to sustainability, and advocacy for change, architects are the future world-shapers. As the builders of our future landscapes, architects hold the key to a world where the built environment harmonizes with nature, creating spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally responsible.
COP28 serves as a significant global platform to showcase solutions—examples of a future that is not just theoretical but already thriving. These examples provide governments with the insights to pose pertinent questions and the confidence to enhance their aspirations.
AIMIR, a professional architectural rendering company founded in 2006, is dedicated to elevating the work of architects and designers by providing 3D rendering services. Please feel free to consult if you’re looking for reliable CG services.