Architecture 2030 has announced one of its most ambitious initiatives to date--launching the 2030 Challenge for Products and setting in motion the organization’s push for a 50% reduction in the carbon footprint of building materials by the year 2030.

“The raw resource extraction, manufacturing, construction, usage, and end-of-life stages of building products each generate significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” says Architecture 2030 founder Edward Mazria. “Slowing the growth rate of GHG emissions and then reversing it is the key to addressing climate change.”

In 2006 Mazria became one the earliest experts from within the industry to identify the impact of the building sector on increased carbon emissions when he established Architecture 2030 and set forth its mission to make new buildings and major renovations carbon neutral by 2030. Since then he has become one of the strongest voices calling the industry to action against climate change and pointing to the crucial role we must play in facing this critical crisis. As the next step in those efforts, Mazria, who received the 2009 Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing, is now calling on manufacturers to voluntarily adopt the goals of the 2030 Challenge for Products--and for building professionals to begin specifying low-carbon products that meet the Challenge’s targets.

CARBON FOOTPRINT TARGETS

The 2030 Challenge for Products aims to reduce the carbon footprint of building materials by targeting greenhouse gas emissions resulting from manufacturing and transportation. The targets will be phased-in over the next 19 years: setting carbon reduction goals of 30% over the next two years, 35% by 2015, 40% by 2020, 45% by 2025, and 50% by 2030, a similar approach to the way incremental goals were set out by the organization when it launched its 2030 Challenge for building performance. Architecture 2030 calls the next two years the “development period” during which product category benchmarks and standards will be established. The benchmarks will set the category average base levels from which reductions will be measured. Until these are in place, manufacturers can measure the carbon-equivalent footprints of their products using ISO 14000 Standards or the World Resource Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope III and Product Life Cycle Standards for carbon footprints.

The 2030 Challenge for Products is not a certification program, and Architecture 2030 will not be certifying products. Instead, it will maintain a database of manufacturers who have adopted the Challenge, committed to its targets, and conducted and published life cycle assessments (LCAs), even during the two-year development period.

“Once standards and benchmarks have been developed, the beauty of the Challenge should kick in,” says Mazria. “So while the Challenge is voluntary, we are exploring ways to establish the benchmarks, and hope manufacturers will follow specific and transparent methods in conduct their LCAs. Eventually we would like to see complete Environmental Performance Declarations and third-party verification, but everyone must work toward creating standards, developing data, and generating increased demand from the design community.”

For more information and details, or to adopt the 2030 Challenge for Products, click here.