Review: Climate Adaptive Design - Where Climate Science Meets Building Science

During the past three years Climate Adaptive Design: Where Climate Science Meets Building Science, hosted by The Collider and AIA Asheville, has grown from 40 attendees in 2015 to 80 in 2017. Each year the event brings together world-renowned climate scientists and architects to provide insight on how their professions are addressing the changing climate. In addition to the full day of presentations, the event also offers a public lecture with content for all from homeowners to industry professionals. 

This year’s event included a public presentation by keynote speaker Victor Olgyay, a bioclimatic architect from Boulder, CO, and principal with the Rocky Mountain Institute. Olgyay shared his personal history of designing with climate in mind. Olgyay designed his first passive solar house in Asheville and has since worked as an architect, writer, professor, researcher, daylight-ing designer, and environmental consultant. “Architects have a big responsibility for the role the built environment plays in climate change,” said Olgyay. “Globally, buildings consume 35 percent of all energy and 60 percent of all generated electricity—much of which is produced by fossil fuels. As the largest end-use energy sector, buildings account for more than one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, all buildings from our homes, offices, schools, or shopping centers—and the architects who design them—can either exacerbate our climate problem or be a foundational part of the solution.”

Olgyay believes that buildings must support human and ecological needs. His research on ecosystem services as criteria for green building assessment resulted in the “Green Footstep” building tool, demonstrating a lifecycle approach to the reduction of carbon, water, and ecological footprints.