Canadians often associate global warming with cars and coal, but most don’t realize that about 30 per cent of our greenhouse gases are emitted in the heating and cooling of buildings.
This means design is a critical factor in addressing the environmental and economic effects of global warming. Long before a building is built or a product is manufactured, decisions are made that will ultimately determine how much energy it will consume and how much waste it will create. These design decisions cascade through the life of an office tower or an appliance and dramatically affect its cost and energy efficiency.
Both design and global warming cut across national and disciplinary boundaries. No single discipline, nation or technology can solve this problem. For example, a new solar panel will never fulfill its potential unless architects specify it, contractors install it and consumers buy it. We must design an integrated and interdisciplinary strategy that involves us all.