More than just reducing carbon emissions from building operations will be required to decarbonize cities.
As communities commit to ambitious net zero objectives, the most forward-thinking are increasingly thinking about how to better plan building lifecycles, from construction through maintenance and, eventually, destruction.
The real estate business generates the most garbage in the world
. Construction and demolition trash accounts for around one-third of total garbage in the EU and nearly 40% of solid waste in the US.
If cities want to attain a net zero future, this must alter soon. This is why circular economy philosophy, which strives to minimize waste, is gaining traction. It has far-reaching implications for decarbonizing cities because it considers whole-life emissions - the carbon emitted from the production and transportation of goods all the way to their usage and disposal.
However, this is only a portion of the solution. For example, in North America and Europe, almost 80% of buildings that will be in use in 2050 already exist today and will fall significantly short of future carbon reduction objectives. However, demolishing an old structure in order to construct a new, greener structure is not a viable strategy.
Regulations On the Horizon
Incoming rules in large cities are increasingly on developers
' minds. By 2030, Amsterdam will have cut its usage of new raw materials in half, on its way to being totally circular by 2050.
Los Angeles aims to be the largest city in the United States to reach zero waste by 2025, with a 90% garbage diversion rate, while Melbourne is likewise on a similar path.
With Design for Reuse Principles, Paris is paving the path for 50% of building projects to send no trash to landfill by 2030. These urge developers to focus on facilities that can support several purposes over time - residences, workplaces, hotels - without requiring large modifications or improvements. By 2030, 30% of its office stock will be required to be flexible.