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20 million square feet and counting — November Challenge Update

On our way to 30M square feet - 20 million square feet and counting
Congratulations to our newest Building Partner Jamison Services for enrolling! We are at 20M square feet and well on our way towards our 30M square foot goal by 2020! Read More


The buildings where we live and work are the single largest contributors (39%) to US greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing these building-related emissions requires a combination of energy efficiency, conservation and alternative energy generation approaches. AIA COTE identified a number of measured how these can be done, which are listed below.

  • Provide training/demonstrations for residents and community members in sustainable behaviors, such as recycling, conserving water, and exploiting readily available alternative technologies.
  • Utilize existing rooftops, south sides of buildings, and parking lots for photovoltaic and wind-turbine systems.
  • Improve building lighting by replacing T-12s with T-8s, and replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents and LEDs
  • Retrofit existing buildings with energy-saving technologies such as better insulation, window films, and cool roofs.
  • Plant trees inside buildings to capture and sequester carbon before it gets outside, creating an indoor bioreactor.
  • Modify landscaping with drought-tolerant planting and install high-efficiency irrigation systems.
  • Install systems to locally collect, store, and use stormwater (i.e., graywater systems).


The following are the big picture ideas from the Eco Charette for discussion.


Goal: Reduce carbon by saving energy


  • Install energy saving measures
    • Window films
    • Insulation
    • Cool Roof coatings
    • CFLs & LED lighting
    • T-8s lamps
  • Modifying landscaping
    • Drought-tolerant plantings
    • High-efficiency irrigation systems
  • Disassemble buildings for material reuse
  • Calculate payback & financing for incorporating sustainability measures
  • Utilize existing rooftops, south sides of buildings and parking lots for photovoltaic and wind-turbine systems


  • Create a pilot project to demonstrate efficiency measures & costs/savings


  • Replacing existing plumbing fixtures with water conserving fixtures
  • Installing systems to collect, store and use stormwater for irrigation
  • Plant trees in buildings to capture and sequester carbon creating an indoor bioreactor.
  • Install green roofs to insulate the building and capture carbon


"It is surprising but true that its not cars, planes, or farms that are the biggest consumers of energy across the nation, the biggest consumers are our homes and businesses. When the annual energy required to operate residential, commercial, and industrial buildings is combined with the embodied energy (the amount of fuel it takes to manufacture the materials) of industry-produced building materials such as carpet, tile, glass, and concrete, buildings are exposed as the largest energy-consuming and greenhouse-gas-emitting sector." a quote from Materials & Applications(M&A)