Editorial: The climate is changing. So must architecture.

Hudson River, Jersey City, NJ Environment News

NED CRAMER / ARCHITECT – Climate change is the fundamental design problem of our time. Not style, not fees, not education, not community, not health, not justice. All other concerns, many of them profoundly important, are nonetheless ancillary. The threat climate change poses is existential, and buildings are hugely complicit—even more so than that stock culprit, the automobile. As every architect should know, buildings consume some 40 percent of the energy in the U.S. annually, and they emit nearly half of the carbon dioxide (CO2), through greenfield development, cement production, and the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal. Because CO2 traps solar energy in the atmosphere, thereby heating the planet, it is the chief agent of climate change, making buildings—and by association, the architecture profession—profoundly responsible …

Ned Cramer, Assoc. AIA, is the editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT, the Journal of the American Institute of Architects.

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