Think about it — through thoughtful efficiency and elements of various styles of design we can eliminate or significantly reduce, to the point of near elimination, our electrical and some other utility resource usage. There is no longer a good reason to design or build any of our future homes and buildings otherwise. Buildings, as a category, are the largest energy users and carbon emitters in the world when compared to transportation and industry — specifically energy for heating, cooling and lighting. Building code upgrades will become "no-brainers" and will become embraced by all in our community.
Here are some U.S. Green Building Council facts:
What: Peoples’ Visioning presentation of the competition-winning, net-zero energy, affordable home to be built this summer on West Ash Street in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, program starts at 7 p.m.
Where: Friends Room, Columbia Public Library
- Buildings account for about 39 percent carbon dioxide emissions, versus 33 percent for transportation and 29 percent for industry
- Buildings use about 70 percent of the electricity load in the U.S.
- Buildings put out 40 percent of carbon emissions
- Buildings contribute 65 percent of all waste output
These numbers quickly show why we need great strides in building design and how game-changing building using sustainability and thoughtful, net-zero energy designs will be. This is something Peoples’ Visioning had as a main and primary early focus on how we would propose Columbia could make present and future building and construction game-changers. This is a large part of how we would propose to take us, easily, to achieving a high level of efficiency in combination with active generation of renewable energy, on-site, in a lift-all-boats, safety focused, distributed generation model to quickly help achieve a high Renewable Energy Standard such as we proposed in December of 2012.
Sustainability with better design would help our community in countless ways. Among them, it would keep far more of our energy dollars for finite, dirty, dangerous energy sources here at home to be sourced only as truly cleaner, healthier, renewable sources.
Monta Welch is the founder and president of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition and Interfaith Care for Creation.