Carbon Footprint and Carbon Neutrality Essay - Essay Prowess

Carbon Footprint and Carbon Neutrality Essay


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  1. Carbon footprint and Carbon neutrality

A serious issue affecting the world today relates to climate change. Climate change is primarily caused by carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of conventional fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil (Zuo, Read, Pullen & Shi, 2012). In an effort to stem this serious issue, organizations as well as countries are opting for carbon neutrality. As such, greenhouse gases (GHGs) have been attributed to the rising global temperatures over the last decade. These gases are harmful to the earth’s ozone layer and are produced as a result of anthropogenic activities which include deforestation, changes in land use, draining of wetlands, biomass burning, fossil fuel combustion, and soil cultivation (Zuo, Read, Pullen & Shi, 2012). The growth in human populations all over the world has also translated to a situation where carbon footprint is on the increase. The carbon footprint is in essence the ecological footprint component and as such, takes into consideration the amount of productive sea and land need to adequately sequester CO2 emissions (El Hanandeh, 2013).

In an effort to ensure carbon neutrality also referred to as climate neutrality, checks and balances have to be sustainably employed towards limiting the production of greenhouse gases (El Hanandeh, 2013). The carbon footprint is an important means for assessing the extent to which carbon emissions interact and compare with different aspects of human demand. These include human pressure on available food sources, land used for production and the amount of living resources needed to produce goods for human use. Reducing the carbon footprint impressed by humanity is critical towards having a sustainable and efficient ecosystem (El Hanandeh, 2013). One means with which organizations as well as sovereign countries are being encouraged to restrain carbon footprints towards carbon neutrality is through carbon offsets. Carbon offsets aimed at reducing the carbon footprint include projects such as power generation in wind farms which are a renewable and sustainable source of energy for human consumption (El Hanandeh, 2013).

  1. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED entails redefining the manner with which humanity thinks and understands about the localities they learn in, work and reside (Afshari, Issa & Radwan, 2016). It is also an internationally accredited mark for professional excellence offering construction operators and owners a sustainable framework that identifies and implements measurable and practical green construction operations, maintenance and design solutions. The LEED framework is also adequately flexible such that it applies to all forms of construction whether residential, commercial or entire community establishments such as housing estates. It is a framework that can be followed throughout a particular construction cycle such as building design, construction works, operations, scheduled maintenance, retrofits as well as tenant fit outs (Afshari, Issa & Radwan, 2016).

LEED certification offers independent verifications by a third party towards verifying and ascertaining that a home, building or community is designed and constructed through the application of sustainable strategies that are mandatory for any LEED accredited project (Gauthier & Wooldridge, 2012). It is important to point out that credits are in essence optional strategies or elements highlighting that a particular construction project has opted to follow up on gaining points for LEED accreditation.  LEED credits and prerequisites work in tandem to avail a common basis of performance as well as a flexible array of strategies and tools to factor in unique circumstances for an individual project. The LEED systems for rating construction projects commonly possess 100 base points, 6 design innovation points, 4 points for regional priority such that 110 point in total can be awarded (Gauthier & Wooldridge, 2012). For homes, the LEED system accords 125 base points as well as 110 design innovation points. Every credit point is allocated on the basis of environmental effects and the advantages to humans as associated with construction related impacts it seeks to counter. LEED is of critical importance to sustainable construction projects as it influences market transformation through a continuous enhancement cycle (Gauthier & Wooldridge, 2012). This enables the LEED rating framework to expand its stringency and scope as novel technologies become easily accessible and the market readiness for such developments increases.

  1. Living Building Challenge

All over the globe, ardent people are championing for restorative construction practices such that, they are eliminating obstacles to change by offering presentations, collaborating locally and pursuing objectives towards certifications for living building challenge as part of a team (Cole, 2012). The Living Building Challenge is managed by the International Living Future Institute. It is considered as a rigorous and intricate performance standard for the building environment. This standard advocates for the establishment of construction projects at all possible scales that allow operations to be as efficient, beautiful and cleanly as nature own unique architecture (Cole, 2012).

For a construction project to be accredited under the living building challenge, a particular project has to meet the set criterion meeting an array of motivated performance requirements spanning a period of not less than a year of continuous occupancy (Muller, 2016). Regardless of whether a given project is a park, single building college campus or an entire community, the Challenge offers frameworks for the design, subsequent construction and symbiotic associations between all facets of a building environment and people. As such, project teams are compelled to identify typologies that conform to selected projects in an effort to ensure that the various imperatives apply. The Living Building Challenge works under an advocacy and philosophy platform aimed at promoting for high quality construction endeavors (Muller, 2016). The LBC also aims at employing holistic and restorative approaches in all aspects of the building process in an effort to overcome environmental, economic and social problems within a given built environment. The LBC also calls for the attainment of distinctive petal imperatives for specific performance areas like energy, site, water, health, equity, materials and aesthetics. The use of these petals aims at inspiring a comprehensive and holistic construction approach in an industry that is projected to experience significant transformations (Muller, 2016).

  1. Green Design and Manufacturing

The past and recent developments with regard to manufacturing intelligence have continued to fuel innovation in different manufacturing processes and products relative to imposing a minimal environmental impact throughout a product’s lifecycle (Tseng & Wang, 2013). Green design and manufacturing is critical towards ensuring sustainability, focusing on costs, product reuse and recyclability. It involves the application of analytical techniques towards limiting material waste, minimizing costs, and reducing the use of energy in the manufacturing process. As an integral component of sustainability principles green design and manufacturing is concerned with all facets of the selection of feasible materials, production economics, green design and efficient as well as relevant manufacturing processes (Tseng & Wang, 2013). It underscores techniques like cost assessment on product life cycles, recyclables, reuse as a means for sustainable, environmental friendly solutions to common manufacturing issues.

The core objective of green design and manufacturing is for the engineering of a service system, process or product from different industries or countries to ensure quantifiable lean, sustainable production activities (Dües, Tan & Lim, 2013). In essence, it is aimed at improving the contemporary quality of life. By complying with the recommended quality of green initiatives that simultaneously reduce pollution, environmental and carbon footprint as well as cost off the entire product design initiative, manufacturing and other associated activities. The associate activities may include transportation, raw materials processing, warehousing, logistics, recycling, remanufacture and reuse (Dües, Tan & Lim, 2013). As an interdisciplinary subject, green design and manufacturing compels individuals who subscribe to its principles to be open minded, lateral thinkers, integrate, structure, and reason quality information to project novel knowledge which is beneficial to humanity as well as the entire planet’s living entities (Dües, Tan & Lim, 2013). As such, it has to satisfy implied and specific environmental requirements to ensure sustainability, economic, and social development that is not only integrated but also balanced.

  1. Greenwashing

Green washing entails a politician’s, government, organization or other public entity attempting to promote green initiatives through marketing and advertising strategies rather than truthfully implementing organizational strategies which minimize adverse environmental impacts (Mahoney, Thorne, Cecil & LaGore, 2013). The term is employed in the same manner the phrase whitewashing is utilized to describe organized attempts to cover-up unfriendly facts. To further illustrate green washing, consider an energy oriented organization in the process of running a marketing campaign aimed at touting a non-existent green project, technology or initiative that is in operation (Mahoney, Thorne, Cecil & LaGore, 2013). In most instances, such an organization may be only seeking to appease stakeholders especially after an unfortunate organizational outcome such as an oil spill.

Proponents for sustainability should have the capabilities to spot green washing antics. One of the best approaches towards understanding whether a company is using green washing strategies is to contrast a specific advertisement with the entire firm’s portfolio (Marquis, Toffel & Zhou, 2016). Green washing is in essence a problem as it leads to adverse effects on human society, the environment and industry. It is, however, critical to understanding that green washing can be set in motion by an organization either knowingly or unwittingly. Greenwashing can present detrimental outcomes to the environment as it tends to encourage human society to do the contrary of what is beneficial to the environment. As such, green washing initiatives are solely aimed at improving an entity’s ability to sell a false image to the public (Marquis, Toffel & Zhou, 2016). On the same note, green washing negative affects consumers as they are led to believe falsehoods and purchase products that do not benefit the environment. Green washing also negatively affects businesses especially in cases where the public comes to perceive the falsehoods propagated by firm and the effect may be the collapse of such an organization.


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Cole, R. J. (2012). Transitioning from green to regenerative design. Building Research & Information, 40(1), 39-53.

Dües, C. M., Tan, K. H., & Lim, M. (2013). Green as the new Lean: how to use Lean practices as a catalyst to greening your supply chain. Journal of cleaner production, 40, 93-100.

El Hanandeh, A. (2013). Quantifying the carbon footprint of religious tourism: the case of Hajj. Journal of Cleaner Production, 52, 53-60.

Gauthier, J., & Wooldridge, B. (2012). Influences on sustainable innovation adoption: evidence from leadership in energy and environmental design. Business Strategy and the Environment, 21(2), 98-110.

Mahoney, L. S., Thorne, L., Cecil, L., & LaGore, W. (2013). A research note on standalone corporate social responsibility reports: Signaling or greenwashing?. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 24(4), 350-359.

Marquis, C., Toffel, M. W., & Zhou, Y. (2016). Scrutiny, Norms, and Selective Disclosure: A Global Study of Greenwashing. Organization Science, 27(2), 483-504.

Muller, B. (2016). The Machine Is a Watershed for Living In (Reconstituting Architectural Horizons). the pluralist, 11(1), 78-92.

Tseng, Y. J., & Wang, Y. J. (2013, January). A Product Development for Green Logistics Model by Integrated Evaluation of Design and Manufacturing and Green Supply Chain. In Proceedings of World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (No. 79, p. 418). World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET).

Zuo, J., Read, B., Pullen, S., & Shi, Q. (2012). Achieving carbon neutrality in commercial building developments–Perceptions of the construction industry. Habitat International, 36(2), 278-286.

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