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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Ed Mazria talks about the new 2030Palette

January 14th, 2014 by Susan Smith

In an interview with Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, we discussed the organization’s new 2030Palette and what brought that technology to fruition. From Architecture 2030 the stats are as follows: For the ninth straight year, projected U.S. Building Sector energy consumption (building operations) and greenhouse gas emissions to the year 2030 have declined.

Mazria said that there is a lot of good work out there now and sustainability is almost “mainstream” yet it has lacked a guiding set of principles and actions for the entire spectrum of the built environment. “This includes cities, towns, districts, neighborhoods, buildings and building elements,” said Mazria. “We tried to look at the entire built environment and break it down into its constituent pieces, and put it back together sort of like a lanaguage, with very specific actions for design and planning that people can apply to create highly sustainable, carbon neutral environments.”

They wanted a format and framework that was visual and understandable by a large group of people in the built environment who are at many different levels of understanding and have different roles. Owners, designers, technologists, planners and policy makers all needed to be able to understand the product. It needed to not be couched in a particular professional language, and to be visual and freely accessible to anyone via the internet.

“We identified the first 55 elements of the built environment all the way from regional planning boundaries down to neighborhoods and street layout and street orientation, shared streets and building and building orientation, glazing and building elements like shading devices,” said Mazria. “This is just the beginning, but we had to generate an initial number of elements we call “swatches” for the 2030Palette. We have 13 more that are in the works and many people are sending in some, writing information and putting it into the Palette.”

These different swatches are to define sustainability across all spectrums of the built environments and the interconnection of the built environment and the natural environment. Quite a tall order and they take a long time to develop. “We have to understand not only the constituent parts but how they relate to each other and how that affects the whole global environment in a sense,” said Mazria.

The swatches contain a lot of information in an icon. The first thing you will see is a photo, and behind that one are lots of photos of built work.  It illustrates that this element has been successfuly built over a period of time and there are examples from all over the world. “We have close to 1,000 photos and they take a lot of time to get, as we have to approve them, get releases, etc.”, said Mazria. “Now people are sending example photos if they are iconic enough and can tell the story without too much explanation.” Underneath the photo and its description, which may include a link to a website, there is an image map of the world and the photo is located on it. “You can change it to a world map with latitude lines on it. There is a main statement that tells you what it is and why solar shading is important, etc. and what you are looking at. Below that are global guidelines that are applied locally and global in scope, with instructions on how to implement that element in a building.”

A new real-time plug in for SketchUp is Sefaira is set up as a box in the corner of the Palette. This plug-in provides real time simulation of increase or decrease in consumption of energy.

Architecture 2030 is planning to translate the 2030Palette into Chinese and Spanish initially, and begin to get content from China to to create Chinese-specific palettes.

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Categories: AEC, architecture, BIM, building information modeling, Cloud, infrastructure, LEED Gold, site planning

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