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Cities Leading the Push For Zero-Energy Buildings

Jack_Benoit MA, United States 0 Ratings 1 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: Jack_Benoit // Civil Engineering Student

In the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, much of the world’s attention has been turned to what is being done on national and international levels to combat the ever-growing threats of climate change. While the provisions and accountability systems outlined by the agreement mainly affect these large governing bodies, much of the momentum for cleaner environmental practices is coming from smaller spheres of influence, namely cities.

It is not not shocking that cities are taking the lead in implementing greener practices, especially in the United States. The social and economic landscape of the United States has been shifting for decades, and the once practical state borders are now becoming obsolete, giving way to regions dominated by modern day “city-states”. These cities and their surrounding regions have diverse and distinct economies and social make ups, and as such stand to best tackle environmental issues on a more focused level.

One of the largest green initiatives taking place in American cities is the push for Zero-Energy buildings, buildings that generate at least as much energy as they consume. Many large cities such as New York have begun to require zero net emissions for new municipal buildings, and many more cities are working towards a similar commitment. In Massachusetts, Cambridge adopted a 25 year Net Zero Action Plan on June 22, 2015, which calls for energy efficiency measures in newly constructed and existing buildings, among other things.

While international endeavors are promising for a global concerted effort against climate change, it is important to also recognize the significant effects that a scaled down approach can have. Cities, while still burdened by many of the inefficiencies of national governments, are more dynamic by virtue of their smaller populations. This dynamism, coupled with shared social, economic, and geographical circumstances, make cities the perfect arena for green efforts.

For more information on...

The changing role of cities in the U.S.
-http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/opinion/sunday/a-new-map-for-america.html?_r=0
The role of cities in preventing climate change
-http://grist.org/climate-energy/american-cities-keep-fighting-climate-change-while-congress-stonewalls/
Cities and NetZero building practices
-http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058072/because-national-governments-wont-cities-are-pushing-zero-energy-buildings?utm_content=buffer292b0&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#deepdecarbonization
Cambridge’s Net Zero Action plan
-http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/NetZeroTaskForce

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