Since the building sector contributes the lion’s share of annual carbon emissions, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels can address both climate and public health at the same time. However, many architectural proposals for addressing COVID-19 actually rely on higher energy consumption.
For example, a commonly recommended strategy to address physical distancing is to increase the amount of square foot per person in buildings. HMC estimates that if every commercial building in America grew enough to accommodate these recommendations, the result would be nearly 100 million metric tons of additional annual carbon emissions, the equivalent of an extra 21 million cars on the road or 17 million homes in electricity.
In this paper, we explore strategies to improve climate impact and indoor quality at the same time.