What You Can Do to Combat Climate Change

10/15/2018 | By Rachel Kats

Now is the time for far-reaching action to control global warming, according to a new report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading world organization for assessing the science related to climate change.

For years, climate change has been a trending topic due to a barrage of natural disasters, and the issuance of several international agreements committing to limit the rise of the Earth’s temperature to 1.5 degrees C (about 2.7 degrees F). This report, however, shows that goal is now impossible to meet without sweeping changes that affect energy, land, transportation, industry and buildings. 

Washington, DC - April 29, 2017: Thousands of people attend the People's Climate March to stand up against climate change.
(Photo: Washington, DC, April 29, 2017: Thousands of people attend the People’s Climate March to stand up against climate change.)

Buildings and Design as Part of the Solution

Building owners, managers and designers know all too well the economic, and health and safety impacts that climate related changes can have on buildings, and the people and property those facilities shelter. Being prepared for catastrophic natural disasters and embracing green options to reduce your carbon footprint are both part of the solution.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of Working Group I, in a release from the IPCC.

Sustainability

Zero Waste Tips for VenuesGlobal warming has increased 1 C (1.8 F), since the Industrial Revolution. The change is attributed to greenhouse gasses (primarily methane and carbon dioxide) brought about by human activity.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1 C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” states Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I, in a release from the IPCC.

The panel concludes—based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions—that if aggressive action isn’t taken, global warming will increase to 1.5 C by 2030 and 2 C (3.6 F) by 2050. They warn this will lead to catastrophic, irreversible changes. 

Fortunately, employing sustainable solutions and using green products has become a mainstay in the building management and design industries. Industry professionals and companies are at the forefront of embracing sustainability, whether it be through installing an on-site water recycling system, harnessing solar energy or participating in the Living Building Challenge.

Yet, more can be done. And it starts with building owners and facility managers like you.

“The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5 C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of Working Group I, in a release from the IPCC.

Lessen Your Carbon Footprint

Check out these 12 articles that provide ways to reduce your environmental impact (among other benefits):

1. Tips to Move Your Building Toward Net Zero

2. 10 Tips for Green Building Certification

3. Is a Vegetative Roof Right for Your Building?

4. Zero Waste Tips for Event Venues

5. The New Office Water Cooler

6. LEED Certification Tips: Water Efficiency

7. New Solar Energy Codes Book

8. 3 Energy Management Games for Your Facility

9. The Business Case for Green Standards

10. Heat Island Effect

11. Your Guide to Reusable Straws

12. Earth Overshoot Day Coverage

Follow Their Lead

These cities are making significant changes. See what they did and the significance it had. Maybe theres something you want to implement from these 9 articles:

1. The Impactful Benefits of this LED Lighting Retrofit

2. How a Green Wall Gave Life to this Parking Garage

3. Hawai‘i Convention Center Launches Conservation Program

4. Lighting Upgrade Transformed this Data Center

5. Chicago Achieves LEED for Cities Platinum

6. 100 Resilient Cities: Inside Atlanta’s Resilience Strategy

7. 5 Tips for LED Retrofits and 3 Real Examples

8. Pittsburgh 2030 District Helps Create a More Sustainable City

9. ENERGY STAR Buildings: Top 10 Cities

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best

As unpredictable and tumultuous weather events continue to strike the U.S. and around the world, industry professionals and companies are taking it upon themselves to create and retrofit buildings to withstand natural disasters.

Here are 6 resources to help you prepare to protect your building and occupants:

1. Can Your Business Survive a Disaster?

2. 5 Ways to Fail Your Building’s Disaster Response

3. Emergency Management Planning

4. The Importance of Scheduling Emergency Drills

5. Beef Up Business Continuity Planning

6. Would Your Disaster Plan Hold Up?

Whether or not the ticking clock scientists have provided to change our ways is something you take seriously or disregard as a political stunt, sustainability benefits your occupants, your facility, your bottom line. (And perhaps inspires others to follow your diminishing carbon footprint.)


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