It’s no secret that buildings account for a tremendous amount of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Between the energy they consume during operations, and the resources and materials necessary to build them, there are fewer culprits more guilty than buildings in the current climate crisis. As a response, the AIA and Architecture2030 made official the 2030 Challenge, with the goal of achieving carbon-neutrality for all new buildings by the year 2030.

Though that date sounds like it’s a ways off, the goal is ambitious and the outcome would be dramatic. But there are numerous committed builders and designers who have made it their business to hit the target much sooner. Kiss + Cathcart Architects, for example, are working on Solar 2, the new visitors’ center for the New York-based sustainability and community hub, Solar One.

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This greener-than-green building (LEED Platinum, to be precise) will feature “geothermal wells, building-integrated photovoltaic panels, solar hot water, daylighting strategies, a Living Machine™, recycled building materials, rainwater collection and more.” It also incorporates a green screen — a large-scale botanical shading device that covers the wall. The building will be used for environmental outreach and education — a perfect purpose for the project. There’s more coming from Architecture 2030, too, including The 2010 Imperative, a no-nonsense initiative to guarantee that design school students are graduating with true ecological literacy by 2010.

Revolutionary efforts such as these are incubating in the New Mexico headquarters of Ed Mazria, whose inspired, driven and optimistic outlook on the building industry and the future of the planet will be part of the fantastic keynote lineup at this weekend’s West Coast Green conference in San Francisco.

Inhabitat will have our very own green design booth at the event, so if you are coming, please do stop by!