Green Architecture and Sustainable Design in Gaza

Could the future of Gaza be this . . .

New green school in Gaza will break ground in early 2013

New green school in Gaza will break ground in early 2013

rather than this . . . ?

Typical concrete construction in Gaza.

Typical concrete construction in Gaza.

There is a tremendous amount of construction going on in Gaza today, I suspect due to various factors: 1) more materials are available, 2) many weddings each week require new dwelling units, 3) trying to replace the units destroyed by Israel in 2008-2009 war, and 4) Gaza’s own form of gentrification.  Lower density buildings are being demolished and replaced with higher density buildings.  Land is in scarce supply and very expensive. 

Students at the University College of Applied Sciences in Gaza heard a number of presentations yesterday about the merits of green building; rating systems for green construction; green materials and design; and I shared a challenge from an architect in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Architect Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030.

Architect Edward Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030.

For the past ten years, Ed Mazria has been challenging architects, builders, city officials (anyone who will listen) because he sees a great opportunity to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions — the primary culprit warming our planet to dangerous levels.  Mazria has estimated that approximately 3/4 of the buildings in 2030 will be built or significantly renovated between now and then. That’s ALOT of construction! 

3/4 of the buildings in 2030 will either be new or renovated between now and then.

3/4 of the buildings in 2030 will either be new or renovated between now and then.

 

And those buildings—–houses, schools, offices, stores—–will be standing for many years into the future.    What if they were built with greater energy efficiency, with green materials and design to reduce GHG emissions in their construction and in their future use?

US Energy Consumption

 

Since the building sector (construction and operation) consumes nearly 1/2 of the total energy in the U.S., how we design and construct them could make a big difference.

So Mazria, an architect, has issued a challenge!  

The 2030 Challenge

The 2030 Challenge

Here’s what he wants us to do:

All new buildings, developments and major renovations must be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% below the regional (or country) average/median for that building type.

At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area must be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60% of the regional (or country) average for that building type.

The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to:  70% in 2015, 80% in 2020, 90% in 2025, and Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

These targets may be accomplished by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and/or purchasing (20% maximum) renewable energy.

Mazria is not only preaching about his 2030 Challenge, he is releasing a 2030 Palette in 2013 which will “contain a set of guiding principles for designing and planning sustainable and resilient built environments worldwide.”

I hope the new architects in Gaza will this 2030 Challenge to heart.  They could single-handily transform the appearance, but more importantly the energy-efficiency of the next generation of buildings. 

Audience attending the Green Architecture Conference at UCAS.

Audience attending the Green Architecture Conference at UCAS.

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