Combating Climate Change by Reducing Embodied Energy in the Built Environment

Green house with leaf out of chimney

The four hottest years on record are 2015-2018.

December 2, 2019
Brent Trenga - Construction Executive

The building and construction industry is a significant consumer of non-renewable energy resources and is contributing to changing the earth’s environment in damaging and irreversible ways. These impacts are being felt in climate-related shifts that include increases in the earth’s average temperature and rising sea levels.

A new report by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2018 was the fourth-hottest year since 1880, the earliest year for which reliable global temperature data is available. The three hottest years on record were 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Additionally, the rise in sea levels is causing “nuisance floods” to become more common. From the 1950s to the early 2000s, the days of flooding in the 27 most vulnerable cities across the United States grew from two per year to nearly 12.

These and other environmental impacts underscore the urgency of battling climate change and how critical it is for all industries—including construction—to stem the tide on this issue.

Reducing embodied energy in the built environment is one way the building and construction sector can do its part to address one of the major challenges of this century.

Reprinted courtesy of Brent Trenga, Construction Executive, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors. All rights reserved.

Mr. Trenga may be contacted at


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