Meeting the challenge of global warming

The building sector generates nearly 50 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Buildings use two thirds of the electricity generated nationally and three fourths of the output of coal-fired power plants, the top emitters of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants.

The 2030 Challenge and the DC area's own Cool Capital Challenge are stepping up to the challenge to take decisive action to reduce fossil fuels. The 2030 Challenge is a campaign of leading architects, developers, and builders to cut fossil fuel use in all new buildings by 50 percent, and to do the same in an equal amount of existing building space. The target rises to 60 percent in 2010, 70 percent in 2015, and greater amounts thereafter. The goal is that, by 2030; new buildings will employ a combination of energy efficient design and onsite renewable energy generation to power themselves, or will draw their energy from renewables on the grid.

The Cool Capital Challenge is working with individuals, schools, congregations, businesses, governments and other institutions to reduce the Capital Region's carbon dioxide emissions by one billion pounds by April 2008. More than half of this total will come from efficiency improvements to existing buildings: weatherization, insulation, more efficient lighting and appliances, and improved calibration. Property management firms are among the campaign's leaders.