Blind spots of sustainability: architecture

The building sector has now reached the stage where numerous sustainability codes and practices have been introduced and enforced in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions associated with the built environment. While these efforts have been successful in shifting the industry towards more sustainable practices, they have had limited success in reducing the sector’s total energy consumption and carbon emissions. This paper discusses how the intended purpose of architecture has contributed to this shortfall, and how it has obstructed the potential environmental benefits of emerging building technologies. It is argued that if the fundamental way in which buildings are designed remains unchanged then it is likely that the targets for reducing carbon emissions will not be met, and that an increase in these emissions will occur. The paper also provides insights into how these shortcomings might be mitigated to ensure that future built environments are created and created using truly sustainable concepts as their basis.