Hopes for Sustainability
by Nancy Novitski
In April, 2005, the University of Oregon hosted the 11th annual "HOPES" conference (Holistic Options for Planet Earth Sustainability). The idea for the conference was born almost 15 years ago when architecture student Kevin Parker decided to learn more about how to make architecture — and his school's curriculum — more sustainable. As part of his master's thesis, he started what has become a respected national forum for students and professionals.
This year's conference focused on looking at old problems with new eyes, challenging the 350 attendees to "reVision" their role as architects, "reDesign" structures to reduce their ecological footprints, and "reSolve" community problems.
The opening keynote speaker drove home the vital importance of changing today's standards of design to promote sustainability. Architect Edward Mazria of Mazria Odems Dzurec, Inc., presented data on the various potential impacts of global warming, then attributed a great deal of this trend to architecture.
Residential and commercial building operations account for almost half of U.S. energy consumption, and over three-quarters of U.S. electricity consumption — largely because of building design.
"Climate change is reversible," Mazria assured his audience, "but it will take an architectural design revolution." He knows from experience that it is possible to reduce a building's energy requirements by 50 percent through design alone, without any cost increase and without sacrificing clients' demands. >>>
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The Rio Grande Conservatory in the Albuquerque Biological Park sets examples for low-energy, low-emissions design.
Photo: Mazria, Riskin Odems, Inc.
Building construction and operations account for nearly half of all U.S. energy consumption.
Image: Mazria, Riskin Odems, Inc. (data source: Energy Information Administration, US DOE)
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