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Edward Mazria, Architecture 2030 – from GreenPrints

March 25, 2009



I went to GreenPrints today at the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta.  Greenprints is a conference and trade show put on by the Southface Energy Institute which is located in Atlanta.  The keynote speaker today was Edward Mazria, and he fathered the organization “Architecture 2030”.  Architecture 2030 strives to have all buildings “carbon neutral” or “zero-net energy” by 2030. 


Global Warming

He began by speaking a little bit about global warming and the melting of the ice caps.  Essentially what this is doing is causing the sea level to rise.  What effect does this have on you?  It depends on where you live.  53% of Americans live in or around coastal areas.  They have studied the impact 1 meter of sea rise would have on cities around the country and the results are extreme.  An increase of 1.5 meters to the current sea level would all but cover Savannah Georgia.  All but the core of the city would be under water.  They estimate that by 2100, the sea level will have reached that 1.5 meter increase


How Can We Combat That?

His first solution was to build an arc, but that took Noah 100 years and it’s too late for that.  The real solution is to end or drastically reduce the use of coal.  He also spoke about oil and natural gas but research shows that it has likely seen it’s heyday and will naturally begin to taper off.  Coal on the other hand is readily available and there is plenty of it.  Coal has and will be the biggest contributor to climate change and guess who is the driving factor behind that?  The private building sector.  Buildings are responsible for 50% of the electricity used in the US and 50% of that goes towards building operations. 


The 2030 Challenge

The 2030 Challenge encourages the United States through the private building sector to reduce energy consumption by 50% in buildings in five years and goes up every year until we are a carbon neutral nation in 2030. 


How Do We Meet That?

  1. Design, Planning and Innovation
    1. Huge steps can be made just through design…think orientation, use of windows, passive solar etc…


  1. Technology
    1. Photovoltaic, Solar Thermal, Geothermal


  1. Purchase Renewable Energy


They are working with Congress to create new guidelines for cities & states to build towards.

  • In 2010 strive to be 30% below the energy code
  • In 2016 strive to be 50% below the energy code
  • In 2022 strive to be 75% below the energy code
  • In 2028 strive to be Carbon Neutral/Zero Net Energy


Cities will be incentivized to beat those goals and by striving to do so this will organically reduce our need for coal.


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The recovery and reinvestment act has been very good for the public building sector and we are already seeing new government buildings and schools starting to move forward with plans that might have been put on the shelf.  The public building sector however is only 7% of the total building sector…The other 93% is private.  Architecture 2030 is proposing new legislation that will tie mortgage rate buy downs to energy reduction measures. 


Invest in a Greenovation, Trade in for a 3% interest rate!

Here is a scenario that I will be participating in immediately…


Assume you have a $265,000 loan amount with a monthly mortgage payment of $1600.00.  If you can reduce your energy consumption to 75% under the current energy code, the government will take your current interest rate on your house and make it 3%.  They estimate that to do this on the average house it would cost you $51,000.  You could also be eligible for a $7000 tax credit after completing these improvements based on your annual income.  Here’s how that looks:

Original Mortgage $265,000

Original Monthly Payment $1,600

Energy Improvements $51,000

New Mortgage Amt $304,000

Interest Rate of 3%

New Monthly Payment $1,284

Reduction in Monthly Energy Bills $145

Monthly Savings all included $493.00


Now that is innovative policy design


Job Creation

In the end we need jobs to create recovery and that’s exactly what the above does.  It will create 9 million new jobs in the private building sector, $1 trillion in private spending, and $44-69 billion in consumer savings. 


I can’t wait to see how this goes


Find out more at or


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