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It’s time to lead on climate

LEO A DALY signs the COP26 Communique, an open letter to world governments calling for decisive action to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment

LEO A DALY joined more than 60 of the world’s largest and most influential design and construction firms, collectively responsible for over $300 billion in annual construction, in a Communiqué calling for government leaders attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26), challenging them to step up their emissions reduction targets for the built environment. The 1.5oC COP26 Communiqué is an open letter to sovereign governments demonstrating LEO A DALY’s commitment to meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5oC carbon budget and demanding governments do the same. 

According to a recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5oC – the threshold needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change – will be beyond reach. Many nations are still operating under insufficient emissions-reduction targets that put the planet in more serious danger. Recent analyses from the United Nations and Climate Action Tracker found that none of the world’s major economies – including the G20 – have a climate plan that would meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement. 

Buildings’ role in climate change 

Buildings are the largest source of the world’s carbon emissions globally and account for approximately 40% of total emissions. When accounting for the embodied carbon of building interiors, systems, and associated infrastructure, that percentage is substantially higher. Decarbonizing the built environment is therefore essential to not exceeding the 1.5oC target. 

“Those responsible for planning, designing, and constructing the global built environment are leading and transforming our sector so that it is a major part of the solution to the climate crisis,” said Edward Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030. “It’s long past time for governments to accelerate the pace of emissions reductions so that we don’t exceed the 1.5oC target.” 

 In the United States, the building sector has not increased its energy consumption since 2005, even though the U.S. has added more than 50 billion square feet of buildings during that time. Today, carbon emissions in the entire U.S. building sector continue to decline each year and are currently down 30% from 2005 levels. 

LEO A DALY action 

LEO A DALY is actively engaged in the 2030 Commitment and are working towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Immediate firmwide efforts include substantially increasing the number of projects performing early-phase energy analysis, implementing embodied carbon assessments, and structuring our design process around the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence    

“Ecological and social responsibility is fundamental to good design. It is incumbent on every designer today to set measurable goals and view every project through the lens of its impact on human health, the community and the environment,” said Chief Sustainability Officer Ellen Mitchell-Kozack, AIA, LEED BD+C, WELL AP. 

LEO A DALY approaches this responsibility through an integrated approach in which every discipline – planning, architecture, engineering and interior design – collaborates from the start of a project, gearing design decisions toward a holistic and regenerative result. We use data to drive our designs. By analyzing the site and climate conditions unique to every project, we seek to maximize opportunities for energy efficiency, carbon reduction, and human health and resilience. 

COP26 climate negotiations 

Government leaders from around the world will be convening for climate negotiations at COP 26 October 31 through November 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. Leading up to the convening, Communiqué signatories aim to demonstrate their support and actions to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment and embolden governments to do the same. 

“The AIA is committed to advocating for energy-efficient, resilient, and zero carbon buildings in our cities, suburbs, and rural communities. It is imperative that world leaders meeting in Glasgow fully commit to adopting aggressive building policies, incentives, and codes that meet the 1.5oC carbon budget. As our nation’s leaders set ambitious targets, architects are making them a reality,” said Peter Exley, President of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).