The World Green Building Council (World GBC) has called for every building to be net zero carbon by 2050 to keep global warming below 2°C. As it stands currently, there are only 500 net zero commercial buildings and only 2000 net zero homes. This is under 1% of all of the buildings in the world. It is clear that there needs to be a tremendous coordinated effort from businesses, governments, and the public to accomplish this goal.
Net zero carbon means zero carbon emissions, or balancing the emissions with carbon offsets. These offsets could be carbon credits as well as using energy from renewable sources that are generated on or off site. The primary way companies are attempting to accomplish this is by means of high efficiency buildings that are able to use much less energy than traditional buildings. These high efficiency buildings are then also able to produce the energy that they need to operate. One of the most popular ways energy is produced in an energy efficient building is through solar. Solar panels placed on roofs and in some cases, the exterior, of the building allow for significant energy production that can be immediately used by the building. Wind farms are a growing trend that larger companies use to offset their energy use.
Recently Amazon has announced their largest wind farm in Texas will produce one million megawatt hours annually. Amazon is also focused on up fitting their existing building to be more green friendly and energy efficient. They plan to add rooftop solar to 50 fulfillment centers and finish 15 new facilities with them installed by the end of 2017. These are the steps that all companies need to adopt in order to meet the global carbon emission level that World GBC deems acceptable for our planet.
It seems obvious that the government will need to set some regulations that will force companies to adopt the same mindset, but how do you go about enforcing that? How can we expect small startup companies to have this mindset in their infancy when the driving force to their growth and success is profits, not carbon emissions? Does the public need to adopt the attitude that companies doing their part are better and should be utilized more? If so, how? These are just a few questions that will help push us towards net zero.