Design all buildings for the future by designing them to be net-zero energy ready.
While net-zero energy might not be feasible today for a given building currently in the design phase, market trends suggest that renewable energy will be much more achievable long before that building has reached the end of its useful life.
The Most Sustainable Office Building in the U.S. Seattle’s Bullitt Center is the most sustainable office building in the world, a title that they do not want to hold for long in the hopes that even more sustainable development occurs in the future. The Bullitt Center is one of the first buildings to be certified under the Living Building Challenge and has drawn acclaim for its adoption of features such as composting toilets, which are typically only used in smaller constructions. Offline and off-pipe, the Bullitt Center’s footprint is literally restricted to its site area.
While net-zero energy might not be feasible today for a given building currently in the design phase, market trends suggest that renewable energy will be much more achievable long before that building has reached the end of its useful life. Buildings that are prepared for the day when renewable energy sources become affordable are better positioned to contribute to net-zero carbon goals sooner, and become inspiring Pilgrimage Sites at the same time.
Our preferred future exists in pockets around us. Pilgrimage Sites like The Bullitt Center serve as precedents, showing what is possible. The creation of more net-zero energy buildings in different climates, economies, and contexts will provide the local examples needed to inspire new levels of energy performance, and give confidence to code writers that their net-zero energy codes are feasible at their local level.
The Neighborhood Checkup is a community-led workshop. It is less rigorous than a design charrette, and is initiated between periods of intense planning, such as comprehensive plan updates or zoning revisions. The goal of the Neighborhood Checkup is to maintain or enable innovation by adapting to change. Critical to success is the focus on implementing comprehensive plan actions or testing innovations in advance of the next plan update.
Campaigns of all shapes and sizes are ongoing, seeking to change our feelings, perceptions, and habits. The Neighborhoods Day campaign is an effort to coordinate neighborhoods across the country (any beyond) to sync annual celebrations on the same day each year. When neighborhoods work and play together, imagination flows, ideas spark, and strangers become neighbors.