EARTH, NOT ENERGY
by Jalel Sager
Much can go wrong in life when one chooses the wrong metric to focus on. Physical beauty in a mate, rather than character. Money from a job, rather than overall fulfilment. Energy, in a building or urban area, rather than ecological effectiveness. Putting too much emphasis, in other words, on what should be only one aspect of a healthy system often produces failure.
The crisis to which architects and engineers in Asia must now respond is not an energy crisis. The world has plenty of high-yielding energy left to convert—coal, natural gas, uranium, and even unconventional oil. The crisis is ecological.
This becomes obscured when we fetishise the energy performance of buildings, forgetting what energy means and why we care about renewables and efficiency in the first place. We, the readers of FuturArc, and most who care about the natural world, are trying to prevent a global ecological disaster, fast or slow, with climate change being the largest potential contributing factor. Yet, our methods leave many processes that could contribute to such a catastrophe completely unaddressed.
To read the complete article, get a copy of the Sep-Oct 2015 edition at our online shop or at newsstands/major bookstores; or subscribe to FuturArc.