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Architects Ink Climate Change Accord


Many of the world’s most prominent architecture and planning firms have pledged to design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings and major renovations in China to low-carbon/carbon-neutral standards, according to the organization Architecture 2030.

Called the “China Accord,” the pledge was signed by 52 firms, including Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Gensler, ARUP, as well as many design groups in China.

Photos: Architecture 2030
(From left) Edward Mazria, Architecture 2030, and Chen Zhen, Secretary-General of the CEDAAB, signed the commitment to plan, design buildings and developments in China to low-carbon/carbon-neutral standards.
Photos: Architecture 2030

(From left) Edward Mazria, Architecture 2030, and Chen Zhen, Secretary-General of the CEDAAB, signed the commitment to plan, design buildings and developments in China to low-carbon/carbon-neutral standards.

The signing took place during a meeting held Oct. 22, in Shenyang, hosted by the China Exploration and Design Association-Architecture Branch (CEDAAB) and Architecture 2030.

The meeting gathered designers with a common goal: “to initiate collaborative efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the built environment,” Architecture 2030 reported.

A list of signatories can be viewed here.

‘Historic Accord’

According to architect Edward Mazria, the founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, the significance of the China Accord, and the meeting which gave rise to it, cannot be overstated.

“We understand our moral and professional responsibility to address the issue of greenhouse gas emissions if we are to stay within the 2° C threshold established by the international scientific community, and the Accord is just the beginning of our joint efforts,” said Mazria.

“We have a long and exciting road ahead of us to decarbonize the built environment.”

Chen Zhen, the Secretary-General, CEDAAB added: "The signing of the Accord demonstrates the determination and moral obligation by architects and planners, both Chinese and internationally, to shoulder this huge responsibility to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions and moving toward zero."

‘Paradigm Shift’

The group says “a grand paradigm shift” has been set in motion, as profound as the Modern Movement of the 1920s and 30s, in how we shape and develop the global built environment over the next 20 years.

During this period, the world is projected to build 80 billion square meters of new buildings in cities worldwide, an area equal to 60 percent of the entire current global building stock.

Since more than half of all global construction will take place in China (38 percent) and North America (the U.S. and Canada, 15 percent), “it is incumbent upon the professional design communities in these countries to take a leadership role in planning for a carbon-free and truly sustainable future by middle of this century,” the group maintains.


Influencial global designers and leaders convened Oct. 22 to sign the China Accord.

“In order to avoid catastrophic climate change, the world must completely phase out fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment by 2050,” the group adds.

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The signatories aim to create cities, towns, and buildings that are models of economic and urban sustainability.

The agreement is the private sector’s response to the Chinese government’s efforts to tackle climate change and achieve sustainable growth, Architecture 2030 reported.

It also supports the national government’s targets to peak and begin reducing carbon emissions, as well as the State Council’s Green Buildings Action Plan and the most recent China-U.S. Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change.

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Training, Initiatives

In order to implement the agreement, initiatives such as professional training, knowledge sharing events and programs, a broad-based stakeholders’ forum, and the localization of design and planning strategies utilizing real-time simulation tools are planned.

“There are a huge number of low-cost and cost saving design and planning strategies that can be implemented to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions,” added Mazria.

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“The signatories of the China Accord will collaborate on achieving this through training and employing advanced design tools.”

About Architecture 2030

Architecture 2030 says it is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization focused on achieving a dramatic reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions in the building sector. The group was founded in 2002.

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In 2006, Architecture 2030 issued the 2030 Challenge, calling for the operation of all new buildings and major renovations in the U.S. to be carbon neutral by 2030.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Carbon footprint; Climate Control; Color + Design; Design; Greenhouse gas


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