Except Integrated Sustainability launches a new approach to sustainable urban development: Catalytic Buildings. Catalytic Buildings are next generation high performance buildings that boost the economic, social, and physical sustainability of entire urban areas. Going beyond energy-neutral buildings, a Catalytic Building enhances the autonomy, resilience and/or the equity of the system within which it exists – be it a single neighbourhood or an entire city.
The built environment is in the spotlight in the global sustainability conversation. Cities are responsible for two-thirds of the global energy demand comes from urban centres, as well as the 70% of CO2 emissions. According to the United Nations, by the year 2050 over 70% of global population will live in cities. Today, the building and construction sector account for a large proportion of the globe's finite resources exploited each year; 40% of worldwide energy use, 30% of energy-related greenhouse gas emission, nearly 12% of water use, and almost 40% of waste.
Accordingly, the greatest challenges for human development in the Anthropocene will take place in increasingly under pressure urban centers. To rise to the challenge, architects, urban planners, developers and local governance must integrate their approach and begin to look beyond the individual building. Green architecture, water-, energy- neutral buildings and, more recently, circular buildings are often identified as the silver bullets needed to steer the whole construction sector on the right track. However, building-centric frameworks fall short in adequately reflecting the complexities of sustainable urban development.
We at Except advocate for more holistic approaches to sustainability, where cities, communities and the construction sector need to come together. This white paper makes the case for the pressing need to set the bar higher than BREEAM and LEED , and instead turn to integrated perspectives when envisioning the future of high-performance, sustainable buildings. We start by giving it a name; introducing Catalytic Buildings.