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Maximize a project’s sustainable design potential and minimize the carbon footprint based on the knowledge available today.

Zero waste and zero energy buildings; The Living Building Challenge (USGBC-Cascadia, Jason McLennan); The 2030 Challenge (Architecture 2030, Edward Mazria); The 2030 Commitment (AIA); Cradle to Cradle Design (MBDC). The 2030 challenge has been adopted by the US Conference of Mayors, AIA, ASHRAE, Washington State, and local entities such as public utilities.

LEED® and other international green rating systems such as the UAE Green Rating System, BREEAM (UK), and Green Star (Australia) have taken the first steps and are accepted as authoritative concepts to deliver projects that implement sustainable design strategies. Beyond LEED® requires a design approach that produces zero energy, carbon neutral buildings. These buildings generate all required energy on site from renewable sources (solar, wind, biomass) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions to levels that correspond with the carbon cycle. Zero waste building technology refers to on-site processes that eliminate waste water and solid waste loads from building operations.

Significant additional capital cost investment may be necessary. However, zero energy and zero waste buildings provide building operations free of utility costs over the lifetime of the building.

Creates a competitive business advantage. Free energy supply from renewable sources is independent from price fluctuations and future volatility of the energy markets. Maximum independence from other utility infrastructure is created.

Client commitment and clear goal setting is essential from the beginning. Carbon taxes may accelerate the process through legislative mandate. Goals for the Architecture 2030 challenge are: All new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 60 percent of the regional (or country) average for that building type. The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings shall be increased to: 70 percent in 2015, 80 percent in 2020, 90 percent in 2025, 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 percent maximum) renewable energy and/or certified renewable energy credits.