Toward a Zero Net Carbon Built Environment

October 27-28

Wuhan, Peoples Republic of China


As part of an Architecture 2030 delegation, I travel to China to meet with Chinese architects to coordinate actions following the joint signing of the Paris Agreement by Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping.


The event was organized by Architecture 2030 and its contacts from the Chinese architectural profession headed by the China Exploration and Design Association - Architecture Branch (CEDAAB). The Chinese entities are generally comprised of Local Design Institutes (LDI's), which are the regional architectural partners US firms work with in China and are constituted as large governmental design agencies.


Last year Architecture 2030 conducted a related event prior to the Paris climate summit (COP21) and instituted the "China Accord". Signed by approximately 20 US firms practicing in China and CEDAAB members, the China Accord entails a commitment by both Chinese and US architects to pursue policies, programs, and practices together to curtail carbon emissions in the building sector; in other words, to practice Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) building and renovation in China.


The event was comprised of a two day meeting, a one-day "forum" followed by a day-long "workshop". The forum included presentations by both US and Chinese architects with interests in the Paris Agreement. Most participants were party to the 2015 China Accord. The workshop focused on developing joint actions to implement ZNC in the Chinese building sector.


Chief among the actions planned for 2017 and beyond are: preparing a China-specific ZNC educational curriculum, conducting a pilot role-out of the ZNC education program, and defining an exchange program to bring Chinese architects to the US to learn firsthand from US firms practicing on the cutting edge of ZNC design.


Current efforts in both the US and China aim to understand the characteristics of the building sector and what is needed to achieve holistic ZNC targets. For the event, Architecture 2030 presented a six-step strategy for realizing ZNC buildings, from following integrated design principles to measuring and reporting results.