ARCHITECTURE 2030 won't wait until 2050, the United Nations–issued deadline, to find a way to reduce carbon dioxide and other gas pollutants by up to 85 percent. Instead, the nonprofit has thrown down the gauntlet with its “2030 Blueprint,” which calls for the U.S. building sector to dramatically improve energy efficiency, ultimately becoming carbon-neutral 22 years from now. Founder Ed Mazria says this can be done with a small annual investment in tax credits and other incentives for builders and architects who choose energy-efficient materials in their projects. In addition to reducing the sector's carbon footprint, this would also boost local economies. “If the feds give this money to nuclear or coal [facilities], it's in one industry,” Mazria says. “But if you invest in energy efficiency, you're spreading it [nationwide] and contributing to every industry.”
The number of new jobs created with the $21.6 billion investment. “Construction can't be outsourced, so the money is filtered back into the local economy,” Mazria notes.
$21.6 billion The annual investment needed to reduce the building sector's 38.5 QBtu (quadrillion British thermal units) in annual energy consumption by 1Q Btu each year. A fraction of the nation's $14 trillion GDP, the cost is one-eighth that of the recent federal economic incentive plan.
86.7 million metric tons of CO2 The drop in emissions for each $21.6 billion spent. The building sector now produces between 2 billion and 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, says Mazria. A United Nations panel has said the world must curb its CO2 growth within seven years and shrink it between 50 percent and 85 percent by the year 2050.