Sustainability. Google it, and you’ll get 1.63 billion results. It’s inescapable. And it’s a topic that generates a lot of passion no matter where you stand on the issue.

Topics like that intrigue me. I find that these issues can often take on a life of their own, and they can mean a lot of different things to different people. In addition, there are social, economic and environmental foundations for sustainability. So you may be wondering, what do I mean by sustainability?

Well, I went on a quest to find out what sustainability looks like in the AEC industry, and it turns out Simon Whelan, founder and COO of FenestraPro, has something to say about it. So I invited Simon to join me on a Bridging the Gap Podcast to pick his brain and unpack sustainability in AEC.

A stat from the CarbonPositive conference predicted that over the next four decades, the world is projected to construct the equivalent of another New York City on this planet every 34 days. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. When I first read that, honestly, it took me a minute to wrap my mind around it enough to even believe it was true. After all, NYC is BIG, like really big. My next thought was, where are we even going to find space worldwide to add that many NYCs? Do the math – that is over 429 more NYCs in 40 years.

With that much rapid building expansion, it is more important than ever for us to do whatever we can to help make the buildings sustainable too.

The Architecture 2030 Challenge is helping move the industry part of the way – 80% of the top 10 and 65% of the top 20 architecture, engineering and planning firms in the United States have adopted the challenge. However, with just under a decade to go, it still seems like a giant challenge to rise to.

A past Redshift article, suggested seven tactics for meeting the 2030 Challenge:

Innovate Across the Portfolio

Set Energy-Use Targets Early

Model Early and Often

Balance First Cost Against Operational Cost

Make Energy Modeling Accessible and Visual

Integrate Environmental Performance Into the Design Process

Integrate Sustainability Into Hiring Practices

Check out my conversation with Simon as we talk about the 2030 Challenge, finding a balance between aesthetics vs. performance, the need for high-performing façades, and the relationship between thermal efficiency and occupant comfort.

I’d love to hear how you are implementing sustainability practices in your firm to rise to the carbon-neutral challenge.

Keep innovating! 


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