Tag Archives: #ClimateChange

Architecture and the Solar Eclipse

By William J. Martin, R.A., AIA, P.P., LEED AP-Hbill headshot

 

We are about to experience one of the greatest wonders the natural world has to offer humanity.

 

In late August,  here in the New Jersey area, there will be a solar eclipse. Solar eclipses are not commonplace. They are actually very rare, especially events visible in the area of New Jersey.  This time around, the sun and the moon will provide a fairly substantial partial eclipse with about 70% of the sun covered at peak time.  This should occur about 2:44pm, local time, on August 21, 2017, and weather permitting, it will be visible throughout New Jersey.

 

A solar eclipse is a reminder from the universe that we are part of a larger environment.  As architects down here on the earth, we strive through design to make the best use of the effects of the natural world.  The occurrence of a solar eclipse visible in New Jersey is a great opportunity to discuss how architects use the movement of the sun through the sky to design better buildings.

 

Climate change, the high cost of energy, and reducing dependence on non-renewable energy sources is an important priority for professional architects.  Utilizing design strategies to reduce heat loss and heat gain allow for a reduced environmental footprint and a lower operational cost for the constructed building.  This business case for reducing the carbon footprint of buildings is strong.  It reduces the economic burden on both the building user, and the environment as a whole.

 

Our design strategies include proper layout and configuration of the buildings we design.  The layout we create responds to the north-south directions through careful building site orientation.  Our spaces are arranged within the building to take advantage of natural solar daylighting reducing dependency on artificial light thus reducing energy utilized.  We incorporate design features such as roof overhangs, that help to manage and minimize solar heat gain by shielding South facing wall surfaces during the hottest parts of the year.  Properly sized overhangs and windows also allow that same solar heat gain to enter the building at the coldest times of the year. Designing to make use of local environmental conditions just makes good design sense.

 

Roof designs can also be affected.  Architects design roof angles and slope direction to provide surfaces for photovoltaic solar panels to be installed.  We create building forms and shapes that maximize efficient renewable energy generation.

 

As architects, we play an important role in helping to reduce the effects of climate change through intelligent building design.  Architects understand how buildings can fit into the natural world and we have the skills to design buildings that will reduce, and not contribute to the negative effects of climate change.

 

This upcoming wondrous celestial event, once again, reminds us that what we do as architects is truly connected to the broader natural world in a most fundamental way.

 

https://www.aia.org/resources/77541-where-we-stand-climate-change

AIA NJ supports the passing of Senate Bill-3317

On June 26, 2017, NJ Senate passed S-3317 to require NJ to Join Climate Alliance to uphold Paris Climate Accord. AIA NJ supports the passing of this Senate Bill.

Along with AIA National, AIA NJ stands for a sustainable future and for protecting communities from the impact of climate change. 

Climate change caused by human activity remains one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases already are causing rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and degradation of natural resources. These trends are projected to continue and possibly accelerate, posing significant risks to national security, human health, food supply, global economies, and natural ecosystems; many of these result in refugee crises.

The AIA recognizes that current planning, design, construction, and real
estate practices contribute to patterns of resource consumption that will inhibit
the sustainable future of the Earth. Architects, as the leaders in design of the
built environment, are responsible to act as stewards of the Earth.
Consequently, we encourage communities to join with us in changing the
course of the planet’s future by supporting governmental and private sector
policy programs, including the development, evaluation, and use of codes,
standards and evidence-based rating systems, that promote the design,
preservation, and construction of sustainable communities and highperformance
buildings.

It is in this spirit that AIA NJ supports the passing of Senate Bill-3317 and we are looking forward to supporting the passing of coordinating Assembly Bill-5040.

SENATE, No. 3317

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JUNE 15, 2017

 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH, District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN, District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

SYNOPSIS:      Requires NJ to join U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold Paris Climate Accord.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT:      As introduced.

An Act requiring New Jersey to join the United States Climate Alliance, and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

  1. The State shall join the United States Climate Alliance and uphold the Paris Climate Accord, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and address the threats posed by climate change in accordance with the goals established therefor by the alliance.

 

  1. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

STATEMENT

This bill would require New Jersey to join the United States Climate Alliance, a group formed to pursue policies to uphold the United States’ commitments to the Paris Climate Accord in order to address the threats posed by climate change.  The group was formed by the Governors of California, New York, and Washington after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

The Paris Climate Accord, joined by 195 countries, sets forth a five-year goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels and aims to limit the increase in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.  The signatories to the agreement also pledge to undertake rapid reductions in greenhouse gases thereafter in accordance with best available science. Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans.  Since the formation of the U.S. Climate Alliance, the Governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Mayor of the District of Columbia joined the alliance.  Hundreds of mayors, business leaders, and university presidents have committed to honor the goals of the Paris agreement as well.  The United States Climate Alliance is committed to upholding the Paris Climate Accord and reducing greenhouse gases in order to address the threats posed by climate change.

Current member states of the U.S. Climate Alliance comprise 36 percent of the United States population and over 30 percent of the United States gross domestic product.  The United States’ goal under the Paris Climate Accord was to reduce national emissions by 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.