LEO A DALY signs the China Accord

Historic agreement pushes toward carbon-neutral building in China


During a historic conference hosted by the China Exploration and Design Association – Architecture Branch (CEDAAB) and Architecture 2030, LEO A DALY was among the 52 Chinese and international architecture and planning firms to sign the China Accord.  

The meeting gathered together influential global design and planning leaders with a common mission: to initiate collaborative efforts to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in the built environment. The resulting agreement is a pledge to design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, and major renovations in China to low-carbon or carbon-neutral standards.

“The China Accord is an historic and transformative initiative taken by leading Chinese and international architecture and planning firms in China,” said Edward Mazria, founder of nonprofit Architecture 2030. “The Accord is just the beginning of our joint efforts. We have a long and exciting road ahead of us to decarbonize the worldwide built environment.”

“This is an important step in our firm’s commitment to move to 100% carbon-neutral building by 2030,” said Dennis W. Petersen, President of LEO A DALY, who signed the China Accord on behalf of the firm.

The accord, which can be accessed in full here, states that architecture, engineering, and planning firms will commit to the following goals for all new projects in China:

  • Cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, and major renovations shall be planned and designed to be carbon neutral, meaning they use no more energy over the course of a year than they produce, or import, from renewable energy sources.
  • When reaching carbon neutral is not feasible or practical, cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, and major renovations shall be designed to be highly efficient with the capability to produce, or import, all their energy from renewable energy sources in the future.

“Over the next 20 years, the world is projected to build 80 billion square meters of new buildings worldwide, an area equal to 60% of the entire current global building stock,” said a statement by Architecture 2030. “It is incumbent upon the professional design communities in these countries to take a leadership role in planning for a carbon-free and sustainable future by middle of this century.”

LEO A DALY has been at the forefront of sustainability since the 1950s, when the firm’s National-Register-listed headquarters served as a testing ground for early sustainable practices such as column-free construction, daylighting, dynamic shading, and reflective roof materials. 

In 1966, Leo A. Daly Jr., FAIA launched the Environmental Systems Division (ESD) of the company, which sought to study architecture and planning holistically. In 1968, the firm employed these ideas in its design for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC, now a landmark in the history of sustainable design. In 1972, Daly Jr. chaired the AIA’s task force on energy conservation, and in 1974, its successor, the Energy Steering Committee. Research by these groups would form the basis of the “green architecture” movement. In 1976, years ahead of the popular thinking, Daly Jr. was awarded the AIA’s Edward C. Kemper award, in part for his leadership in energy conservation.

Today LEO A DALY continues to innovate in sustainable design. Over the last ten years, the firm has designed 69 sustainable-certified projects, including 27 LEED® Silver, 27 LEED® Gold, and 3 LEED® Platinum projects.

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