Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere



By Jerry Yudelson, New Society Publishers, June 2016, Paperback 278 pages. $24.95.

Book Review by N. R. Mallery

Residential and commercial buildings produce 50% of the carbon emissions in the developed world. Jerry Yudelson has a long history and experience with green building as a hands-on LEED practitioner and a leader in the efforts to achieve a sustainable built environment for a decade and a half. He has written 13 professional and trade books on green buildings, integrated designs, green homes, water conservation, building performance and sustainable development.

However, the current systems have not produced the results that need to be developed in order to reduce or eliminate the effect that building inefficiencies are adding to climate change. The author believes that reducing carbon emissions from building operations (and from building products used in making and renovating buildings) should be the primary, overriding task of any green-building rating system.

In Chapter 14, Yudelson discusses solutions beginning with the “Architecture 2030” program that has the clearest result, with all new buildings to be zero net energy/carbon by 2030, less than 15 years from now, and that all existing buildings will use 59% less energy than a 2005 baseline.

The Architecture 2030 program, which was founded by architect Edward Maria, sets the standard for cutting energy use and carbon emissions. The author states that “since the most essential thing in green building is to reduce energy use to considerably lower levels, the key is to work on existing buildings. More than 80% of buildings that will be consuming energy 15 years from now are already built.”

With this in mind, Yudelson discusses goals and real solutions to achieve Zero Net Energy Buildings (ZNEB), retrofits, homes and moving beyond LEED, Green Globes and BREEAM to cut our carbon emissions. Yudleson states that in his view, “future green building rating systems should be at least 50% devoted to directly addressing climate change by radically cutting energy use, and 100% devoted to a few key performance indicators (KPIs) for green buildings: energy, water and waste, including carbon emissions from building materials (new construction) and purchasing practices (existing buildings) and Scope 3 carbon emissions such as employee commuting and corporate travel.

This all leads to a smart, simple, sustainable system with the key to any green building rating system as “intelligent buildings” that can be managed remotely using cloud-based technologies. The next-gen building rating systems and how the data platforms can help to create new green building rating systems are enlarged upon in detail.

This book is about the problems and ends with real solutions that are involved with the whole building process and how, “by 2020, we can expect this transformation to be evident across the entire design and construction stakeholder community, by opening their understanding to the critical need to expand sustainable strategies for bringing advanced green materials into new buildings.”

This is the one book that people in the green building movement needs to read.

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