A Brighter Future: Net-Zero Buildings

When it comes to “going green”, most people think of recycling their soda cans, opting for reusable bags when grocery shopping, or more recently, hybrid vehicles. But these are all things we do as individuals, how much of a difference does it really make?

No matter how small, any action that aims to protect our planet is certainly worth pursuing. But there is some truth to the scale of our impact. If we want to ensure a clean and healthy environment for generations to come, it’s going to take more than just a few recycling bins.

If Covid taught us anything, in short, people love places. It’s really that simple. Places to shop, places to eat, places to gather and be social. We live to explore and indulge in the simple pleasures of being as they say, ‘out and about’.

But here’s a staggering fact to ruin your day: the construction industry accounts for almost 40% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions (Architect Magazine). If that made your jaw drop, imagine how we feel as architects. But before you start swearing off having children to spare them from impending doom, we promise there’s hope.

Just as the future of the automotive industry is leaning more and more towards favoring electric vehicles, the concept of net-zero buildings is becoming a prominent part of the architecture, engineering, and design community. But what exactly is net-zero?

According to Architect Magazine, “[B]y definition, ‘net-zero’, also known as carbon neutrality, is the act of negating or canceling out the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity, by reducing existing emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

Forward Vision: Sustainability in Design

At VISSI, our team members are always looking for ways we can continue to learn and to grow as architects. Sustainability in design has been a passion of ours for years and we are so excited to continue to get involved in any way we can. Whether it’s sharing interesting articles with each other on our Friday email or stopping to ask questions at a recycled material booth at a self-storage conference, we believe the more we know, the better we can help our clients.

Even more exciting, our team recently completed work on our first net-zero building. Located in Carbondale, Colorado, Sopris Self Storage is currently under construction and is expected to finish in 2023.

Sopris Self-Storage

Sopris Self-Storage is a three story, ground up, self-storage building and is 67,000 square feet. Prior to designing, we found out that Carbondale had adopted the International Green Construction code. However, during the municipal approvals phase, the municipality requested that the building be net-zero, making it the first building of its size in Carbondale to be net-zero.

As this was our teams first net-zero project, we were incredibly eager to take on this challenge and we especially can’t wait to watch it come to life.

Looking for an architect to help get you started on your net-zero building? We can help. Connect with us here!