East Coast Green 2010: Meeting the Architecture 2030 Challenge
Bally’s Atlantic City
Thursday September 16 & Friday September 17, 2010
Thirty two educational sessions, three keynote presentations, and three design day lectures drew a crowd of nearly 200 attendees to the Jersey Shore, September 16 – 17, 2010. Among the attendees were architects, planners, engineers, educators, and lawyers interested in sustainable design.
Continuing Education Credits are an important reason for architects and LEED Accredited Professionals to attend conferences, and they could earn up to 12.5 learning units for both AIA and GBCI continuing education. “It was important for us to have all our courses approved by both groups,” says education chair Kim Vierheilig. Not only was it important to provide as many credits as possible in the two day conference, it was also important to ensure the quality of the courses was above average. The speakers committee reviewed every course submitted for relevance to the theme of the conference before approving the course for inclusion in the conference.
Similarly, the keynote speakers were selected for their leadership in sustainable design, and for their unique insights into the field. William Reed’s keynote entitled “Integrating the Whole System – The Practice of Living System and Regenerative Design” addressing sustainability and integrated design was particularly revealing in terms of how far we still have to go to meet the 2030 challenge. According to Reed, what we think of as sustainable design is really just the minimum. “If you can do it forever, it is sustainable. If you can’t, it’s not,” said Reed. His approach to architecture is to work with the entire ecosystem surrounding a site, believing that the building is part of a living system and must be considered as such.
In his keynote entitled “A Super Powered Building Sector,” Edward Mazria pointed out a unique opportunity with the impending commercial real estate crisis. According to Mazria, if legislation is passed to incentivize energy efficient construction in a meaningful way, it will save the government money in the long run and will allow us to meet our carbon reduction goals, while at the same time creating thousands of jobs all across the construction industry. Mr. Mazria encouraged attendees to contact their Senators about his solution. Mazria is the founder of Architecture 2030. The 2030 Challenge requires all new construction and major renovations to be carbon neutral by the year 2030. The goal of this conference was to benchmark how we as architects are doing at reaching the Architecture 2030 Challenge. According to the guidelines set by the 2030 challenge, the year 2010 is the first benchmark year, by which buildings should have reduced their energy consumption by 30%. The good news is that we have reduced overall energy consumption. The bad news is we have fallen well short of the target.
The final Keynote speaker, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. echoed sentiments regarding moving away from coal power generation. According to Mr. Kennedy, the true costs of coal can be measured by the dangerously high levels of mercury in every freshwater fish in America, by the high levels of mercury in women’s wombs, causing mental impairment and autism in their children, and by the $150 billion in related medical costs. Mr. Kennedy’s proposal is to build a new electrical infrastructure capable of transmitting power generated by solar panels and wind farms further than the current limit of 300 miles. The new grid would be paid for in three years from the money we saved in oil imports and coal subsidies. Furthermore, it would stop the current destructive coal mining practices and pollution of our environment.
PowerPoint presentations from most of the educational sessions are available on the East Coast Green website for attendees (www.aia-nj.org/ECG). Contact Lori Lee at AIA-NJ for a password to open the presentations for viewing on your computer. Planning has begun for a follow-up conference next year. Please visit our web site periodically to keep up with the latest news and announcements.