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Tackling Biden’s climate challenge with artificial (and human) intelligence – ArchPaper

Tucked within President Biden’s year-one legislative agenda on climate change is a call to build “zero net energy buildings at zero net cost.”

(Silvestri Matteo/Unsplash)
(Silvestri Matteo/Unsplash)

Tucked within President Biden’s year-one legislative agenda on climate change is a call to build “zero net energy buildings at zero net cost.” This is a bold challenge that resonates powerfully in both the architectural profession and America as a whole. Like many great challenges, it will require a transformation in the way a broad range of disciplines work to shape the built environment.

The benefits of meeting Biden’s challenge are huge. According to the nonprofit organization Architecture 2030, “The urban built environment is responsible for 75 [percent] of annual GHG [greenhouse gas] global emissions: buildings alone account for 39 [percent]. Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting the Paris Climate Agreement targets.” So, the ability to cost-effectively produce zero net energy buildings would over time make a massive positive impact on our climate problems.

The root of the challenge’s difficulty is that designing and constructing great buildings is already a classic “wicked problem.” Wicked problems are defined by imprecise goals, incomplete knowledge, deeply interconnected subproblems, and the need to continuously make “best guess” tradeoffs. Instead of right or wrong answers, wicked problems require us to think in terms of better or worse solutions. Biden’s challenge adds substantially to the difficulty of these tradeoffs in architectural design, and further requires that we do this at zero net added cost.

Good architecture emerges from successfully balancing the interests of all stakeholders in a building project, while simultaneously optimizing innumerable decisions about structure, mechanics, economics, and aesthetics. Adding a net-zero energy requirement will likely result in either increasing the cost of design and construction or cutting back on space or amenities.

Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper Op-ed: Tackling Biden’s climate challenge with artificial (and human) intelligence

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