Smart Cities Report-Climate Change

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BEST PRACTICES Climate change Smart cities start with smart buildings Buildings are underplayed in terms of their contribution to emissions with nearly 40 percent of US emissions attributable to buildings compared to just 3 percent for four-wheel drive vehicles. Ron Dembo outlines how we must clad buildings to reduce emissions and why changing the occupants’ behaviour is key to tackling climate change. Buildings are responsible for 79 percent of New York’s carbon footprint Photo © herMan Bri
  WORLD urban 4 BEST PRACTICES Climate change Buildings are underplayed in terms of their contribution to emissions with nearly 40 percent ofUS emissions attributable to buildings compared to just 3 percent for four-wheel drive vehicles. Ron Demo outnes ow we must ca ungs to reuce emssons an wy cangng teoccupants’ behaviour is key to tackling climate change. Smart cities start withsmart buildings Buildings are responsible for 79 percent of New York’s carbon footprint P  hoto   © h erMan B rinkMan December 2009-January 2010  WORLD urban December 2009-January 2010 5 need air-conditioning, and it radiates away theexpensively generated heat in winter. In energy  efciency terms, they are a disaster.  We cannot knock all these old buildings down and rebuild them to LEED specica -tions. It would cost trillions of dollars andcreate an envronmenta ngtmare. So weare gong to ave to termay soate tem – y attacng a ayer o cang tat w pro- ve an nsuatng arrer etween te u-ngs’ nterors an te eements. We nee togve tem a new sn.Ts ‘resnnng’ can actuay ave a numer o enets eses nsuaton. Te gap etween te new sn an te o wascou e use to carry te ppng, uctng an cang or retrottng te gtng an ar-conditioning. This would make the retrot -ting process much quicker and cheaper. Thecladding itself could generate energy if it was made of photovoltaic cells. And nally, if we pay attention to the aesthetics of the claddingmaterials, the new skins could be used to giveour cities, and particularly the vast swathesof utilitarian post-war apartment blocks that blight many skylines, a much needed facelift. etrotting on its own can reduce build -ing emissions by around 25 percent, butcombined with reskinning it can achieve 70percent or more. Now we are getting muchcloser to our target of an 80 percent reduc-tion in carbon. T he 2009 Copenhagen climateummit has made it clear that weequire urgent action on climatechange. Scientists calculate that we need tostaze te concentraton o caron oxen te atmospere at no more tan 350 partsper mon (ppm) to prevent runaway goa warmng an ts potentay catastropc m-pact on our cvzaton an te natura woras we now t. We are areay at 390ppm, anang to ts at rougy two ppm a year.n oter wors, we not ony ave to at tencrease n goa caron emssons, we aveto turn te process aroun, an ast. We aveto reduce global carbon emissions by 80 per-cen or more.This will take an enormous effort on many fronts. When we look at the major sources of carbon emissions and where the efforts arecurrently directed, there is one area where wehave scarcely scratched the surface, and thatis our buildings.uildings are responsible for nearly 40percent of energy consumption and carbondioxide emissions in the US. Operating themconsumes over 70 percent of all electricity generated in the region. The emissions rate ismost intense in cities, with buildings respon-sible for 79 percent of New York’s carbonfootprint, 73 percent of Hong Kong’s, and 52percent of London’s carbon footprint. To putthis in perspective, four-wheel drive vehiclescount or ust 3 percent o emssons n nort Amerca.Ts comes as news to many peope, ncung envronmentasts. Bungs o not mmeatey come to mn wen peope tn ocaron vans. Te reason s tat unt recenty  we never measure tngs e te caron emssons o ungs, or we we certany neveraggregate te measurements n any meanngu way. But once we now ts normaton wecannot ignore it. If we are serious about tack ling climate change, we have to do somethingabout our buildings. Retroftting is not enough So far, the focus has been on new buildings.Hence we have the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standardin north America, PassivHaus in Germany,Building Research Establishment Environ-mental Assessment Method (BREEAM) in theUnited Kingdom and others. These standardsare important. They are helping create a new  BEST PRACTICES Climate change Dr. Ron Dembo is the founder and CEO of Zero-footprint, an organization dedicated to a massreduction in global environmental impact P  hoto Z  rofootPrint  generation of buildings with the potential for ignicant energy savings. I use the word “potential” deliberately, be-ause it turns out that many of these build-ngs are not everng te promse caroneuctons. Ts s ecause atoug tenrastructure o te ung as een a-resse, te cuture o use as not – ut moren ts ater.Ony a tny proporton o our ungs are ew an meet moern energy ecency rat ngs. Most o our ungs are not ony o,tey are ey to e wt us or a ong tme yet. For exampe, over 50 percent o non-esidential buildings in England and Wales were built before World War II. Most non-esidential buildings built anywhere sincethen are reinforced concrete structures withn expected life of 60 years or more. Thispresents us with a massive problem. We haveto somehow reduce the carbon emissions of lmost our entire building stock. We have to etrot millions of buildings with energy ef  ciency measures. You can get a sense of the cale of the challenge if you go to the top of the Rockefeller Centre and look down the venues of New York. We have to deal withll those buildings, keeping in mind that New  York is just one city. We have some ideas about how we need totackle the problem. We know we need to in-ulate and draught proof. We know we need to t ow energy gtng an more ecent eatng an coong systems. A numer ouc proects are areay uner way, ncu-ng a USD 175 mon programme n Was- ngton to retrot 400 government an pr  vate ungs. But tere are two proems wt ts approac. Te Wasngton pro-gramme s amng or 25 percent energy e- cency gans. Ts s a ong way rom te 0 percent reuctons we nee. Te oter ssueis that with many of our older buildings it isthe structure itself that is the problem. Re-skin the tower blocks any high-rise buildings and tower block partments were designed and constructed  with little thought for energy efciency and with fairly rudimentary understanding of buildingnvelopes. Their outer walls and often their iner cores are reinforced concrete. They haveo thermal barrier between their interiors andthe outside weather. Their concrete structureaptures the heat in summer, so the buildings  WORLD urban 6 December 2009-January 2010 Tere s evence to sow tat ust ettngpeope now ter energy consumpton nmore eta, canges ter eavour. A re-cent project in North Carolina using smartmetre and networking technology demon-strated that just by making energy consump-tion continuously visible to householders andallowing them to make simple adjustments,consumption fell on average by 15 percent,and up to 40 percent in some cases.There is also much evidence to show thatpeople respond better to relative measuresrather than absolutes. If instead of justknowing I consume XkWh of electricity a year, I know that my consumption is twicethat of my neighbours (when converted toa common unit like kWhm 2  yr that takesinto account house size and allows the com-parison of like for like) I am more likely too sometng aout my eectrcty use. Te We areay now ow to o some o ts. A number of reskinning projects have already  been carried out, although they usually addressonly one or two of the issues, such as the aesthetics or protection of deteriorating surfaces.Even where we’ve done it all, it has just beenfor single buildings, but we need to apply thesemethods to whole cities. That is why Zerofootprint launched the ZEROprize (see box). This is just a rst step. We can make the in frastructure of buildings zero carbon, but this will be to no avail unless we simultaneously change the culture of their use. Don’t forget the lights The Hearst Tower, a 46-storey skyscraper nearColumbus Circle in New York completed in 2006, is certied LEED Gold. As its top rating BEST PRACTICES Climate change uggests, its designers went to great lengths to ake the building energy efcient and envi onmentally friendly, including the use of low- mittance glass and high efciency heating,  ventaton an coong (HVAC) systems.But wen ung energy consutant Hen- y Gor went y at 2am on Juy2 200 eaw te Hearst Tower t up e a Crstmastree. For a ts goo ntentons, te ung was an energy og. Wat s more, wen G-or ooe nto LEED ungs n generae oun tat many actuay perorme worsetan comparae ungs wt no ratngs.Ts s crazy, an gven te urgency o our en- vronmenta ssues, we ust cannot aor t.The problem, says Gifford, is that standrds such as LEED only predict how a buildingight perform, and do not measure how they ctually perform. And this is down to their cul-ture of use.If we are to cut the emissions from build- ngs, old or new, by any signicant amount  we have to change the way people inside them  behave. How can we do this? Well, rst we have to ask ourselves why the occupants of a  building can boast about their LEED certi ation and then leave the lights on all night?The answer is that the energy we consumend the carbon we produce is invisible. While the occupants can see the ratings ward plaque on the wall as they arrive at the building every morning, they cannot see any easure o te ung’s actua perormance n ter own energy use. So te rst tng  we ave to o s mae te nvse vse. Measure energy use and display it  We areay ave te asoute energy useeasure o ungs. It s ter monty utty s. But very ew peope see tem. An  ven we cou, te crue gures wou not ay anytng aout weter te ung wasperforming well for its type or not.Therefore, we need to take these measuresnd convert them into something meaningful. We suggest converting them to kilowatt-hours per square metre per year (kWhm 2  yr). (In fact we suggest three measures: en-rgy as kWhmyr, carbon as kilograms perquare metre per year, and water as cubicetres per square metre per year to give thefull environmental footprint of the buildng). Once we convert to a common unt, wean then compare one building with anothern a meanngu way.Te ZEROprze o USD 10 mon,the largest architectural prize in the world, will be awarded to the designteam ae to tae an oer concretehigh-rise structure and, using re- skinning along with other retrotting tecnooges, reuce ts caron, water,an energy ootprnt to net zero wemaintaining the highest architecturaldesign standards. The ZEROprize, e te przes or spacegt, genom -ics and other endeavours, is modelled on the Orteig Prize offered for the rstnon-stop gt rom New Yor to Pars and won by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.These prizes have proved a highly ef  ectve way o unocng te creatvengenuty o engneers an nventors, and seeding signicant investment inthe solution of difcult problems. The more recent USD 10 mon Ansar X Prize for private spaceight generated USD 100 million of investment. Ze-roootprnt opes tat te ZEROprze will generate the interest and invest-ment that will result in cost-effective, repcae, scaae, energy-ecent re- snnng materas an metoooges which can be applied to a large numberof buildings across the globe, and which w enae us to egn tacng te ugecarbon footprint of buildings. The ZEROprize  WORLD urban December 2009-January 2010 7 same appes to ungs. I I now tat te oce oc I wor n consumes oue te energy o ts negours I mgt startto think about how I behave with respect tolighting by turning my computer off at night.Or if I walk into my bank and see a display, which shows me that it is an energy hog, Imight start asking questions and demandingsome action. We suggest that as well as giving buildings an energy rating plaque, we need togive them an energy performance display.For this we recommend taking a leaf out of the book of the car industry and give themsomething like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel consumption stickerthat you see on cars in the United States. If every building had to display an energy performance sticker we could start to developsome benchmarks. We could compare all mar ungs n a cty – say oce ocs, r scoos or apartment ocs – an ent- y te most green an te worst perormng.Te EPA ue consumpton ratngs or carsot ony norm car uyers, tey aso serve aspocy nstrument or government. To m-prove the overall fuel performance of cars,the US government simply resets the average fuel consumption that a manufacturer’s eet f cars must meet, as President Obama did ecently when he raised the US eet average for cars from 9.4 litres per 100 kilometres to6.7 litres per 100 kilometres by 2016. If build-ings had similar energy consumption stick-rs, governments could set targets for build-ing performance simply by raising the energy onsumption benchmarks.The introduction of EPA fuel consumptionatings in 1974 sparked a revolution in caresign. Thirty years later, the Honda Civic, BEST PRACTICES Climate change or exampe, was 100 tmes ess poutng.Car manuacturers aceve ts y mang ter veces smart. Tey tte tem wt sensors, microprocessors and algorithms tooptimise their performance. And they feedall the information back to the driver throughthe dashboard. Most buildings built today are not much more sophisticated than those built 30 years ago. The gap between the old  walls and the new skin on retrotted build -ings could carry the wiring to make our build-ings smart. If we made our buildings smarterand fed the information back to the buildingusers, as well as improved their thermal per-formance, we might be able to reduce theirpollution one hundred fold as well.That really would be a revolution in build- ing performance, and would make a signi -cant contribution to the struggle against cli-mate change. u Retroftting needs to be combined with a change in human culture to reduce emissions P  hoto M  arc  M  SS
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