How better buildings can help fight climate change

by Jon Floyd, Better Buildings by Design Conference Chair

Photo courtesy of 350.org. Photo by Nancie Battaglia

Each February professionals from the energy efficiency, architecture, construction, and technology sectors come together for two days at Efficiency Vermont’s Better Buildings by Design conference. Over the years the conference has hosted a diverse group of keynote speakers and topics, each offering a unique perspective on designing buildings with energy efficiency in mind. We are very excited to announce that Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist, and Vermont resident, will be our keynote speaker for Better Buildings by Design 2016.

Bill McKibben has been strongly advocating for climate change mitigation for years, check out this video clip of a speech he gave a number of years ago discussing the negative environmental impacts of fossil fuel use:

Bill McKibben is the co-founder of 350.org, the world’s largest grassroots climate campaign. He has authored multiple books, including The End of Nature in 1989, the first book written for a general audience about climate change. His writing also frequently appears in world-renowned publications including The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone. McKibben has received 18 honorary degrees, the Right Livelihood Award, the Gandhi Peace Award, and the Thomas Merton Award.

McKibben's work has a singular focus: Global climate change is a threat of extreme urgency and an immediate practical response to it is required. With the Arctic melting, the Midwest in drought, and storms like Hurricane Sandy scouring the Atlantic, McKibben has emphasized that action at both the local and energy industry-wide level is needed if solutions are to be found.

So how do better buildings fit into the climate change fight? With conservation and technology. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions that result from burning fossil fuels for energy. Incorporating renewable energy technology and energy efficiency wherever possible can minimize the amount of fossil fuels required to power buildings. Earlier this December, world leaders gathered at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) to reach a new global climate agreement. Energy efficiency was highlighted at COP21 as a key area of focus in the fight against climate change. According to Energy Efficiency Markets, efficiency measures “have the potential to contribute up to half the savings in greenhouse gas emissions needed to keep the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, while also promoting energy access, productivity and job creation.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the 42 workshops on designing better buildings and to hear Vermont’s own climate crisis fighter at this year’s conference. Register for Better Buildings by Design 2016 today!

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