President Biden signed the U.S. onto the Paris Agreement during his first day back in the office. The signature signifies our national commitments to greenhouse gas emission reduction. We must hold companies accountable for their environmental impacts, ensuring ecological conservation.
Biden also developed the Build Back Better plan, instilling sustainability in America’s infrastructure. Government policies influence citywide regulations, optimizing green building. Various U.S. cities developed strict construction codes, helping us meet Biden’s carbon-neutral goals.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding treaty, ensuring climate change prevention efforts. It works to reduce the global temperature by two degrees Celsius before pre-industrial rates. We can achieve the climate conservation goal by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
The Build Back Better policy influences sustainable infrastructure and clean energy employment. It allocates two trillion dollars to the renewable power sector and promotes green building growth. Cities utilize the funding, establishing new construction practices and regulations.
New York City
NYC passed a historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection act in 2019. It increases ecological protection in the residential, commercial and community sectors of the city. They will restructure their energy sources to support their emission reduction goal, achieving zero-emission power by 2040.
In the next four years, the city will increase its accessibility to solar power. They plan on sourcing 6,000 megawatts of energy from the sun. In addition, they will increase their renewable energy storage and offshore wind power extraction.
The city’s net zero plans influenced the NYC Green Building Program’s establishment. Sustainability codes ensure the energy efficiency of current and future construction projects. They also require heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, boilers, lighting and plumbing devices to limit energy and potable water exploitation.
The energy sector itself exploits freshwater sources. Nearly 90% of U.S. generated electricity derives from thermoelectric power plants. They utilize over 195 billion gallons of potable water daily for producing steam and cooling equipment. National cities increase residential and commercial accessibility to renewable energy sources, limiting greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
California also set ambitious climate change prevention goals, helping the state achieve a net zero goal. Los Angeles plans to reduce atmospheric pollution by 40% throughout this decade. In addition, they established the California Green Building Code (CALGreen), helping them regulate infrastructure emissions.
CALGreen requires builders to place electric vehicle charging ports or capable structures in current and future projects. They also restrict construction companies’ use of volatile organic compounds (VOC) containing paints and other ecologically toxic materials. In addition, builders must increase the energy efficiency of structures by installing energy star and low-emission appliances.
Denver is working on adopting a net-zero city infrastructure. As a result, they plan on cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 90%, limiting air pollution by 100 million tons annually. In addition, the city will meet climate change prevention goals by passing a green roof ordinance.
Buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet must install a green roof, absorbing and filtering pollution before it reaches the atmosphere. The ordinance will also reduce the urban heat island effect, increasing resident’s safety.
They also must source 100% of their energy from on-site renewable sources, like solar panels. If the building size or style limits clean energy device installment, owners can receive off-site renewable power. New restrictions require building owners to sign a five-year contract, signifying their greenhouse gas emission reduction commitment.
Our neighboring nation also increased its net zero city plans. Vancouver is one of the most sustainable cities in North America. They plan on developing an emission-free structure by 2050.
Canada increases its sustainability using its organic carbon filtration system – green spaces. Trees absorb 48 pounds of carbon emissions annually. An acre of dense forest can filter the number of greenhouse gases generated by two cars every year.
They are expanding parks and forests, increasing the number of carbon filtering vegetation. Additionally, Vancouver will develop more bike paths and accessible public transportation systems. Alternative travel methods can significantly reduce emissions.
The Future of Urban Living
As the global population grows, we can expect city resident numbers to increase. As a result, cities can increase environmental conservation, preventing the pollution of preserved spaces. However, they can also contain high emission structures.
We can increase the sustainability of urban living by adopting eco-conscious lifestyles. For example, residents can install energy-efficient devices in their homes and limit their potable water use. As cities construct eco-friendly buildings, residents must evolve with net-zero infrastructure.
Jane works as an environmental and energy writer. She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co.