Chris Dent

By almost any measure, the choices we make and the path we follow over the next decade as stewards of this planet will define the quality and balance of life for generations to come, touching every man, woman, child, and species at every corner of the Earth. And as we approach a wide range of tipping points—from atmospheric carbon levels and their projected impacts on climate change to unsustainable resource consumption and its impact on the natural world—the need to set and update crucial metrics and milestones from which we can track our progress becomes ever more urgent.

It is with this sense of urgency that we established Vision 2020 and enlisted renowned thought leaders in 10 areas of study to guide our research and help create a road map for the building industry that would lead us toward regeneration and sustainability. We took our cues from our friends at Architecture 2030 who, by introducing the 2030 Challenge, gave our industry its first performance-based environmental timeline from which to navigate, setting the year 2030 as the target to achieve a carbon-neutral building sector. Our goal was to see where we need to be by 2020 in order to be on track to achieve the 2030 goals.

As you’ll see in the feature articles that follow, written by our Vision 2020 chairs, we’ve made good progress already, especially in terms of understanding the challenges we face and the opportunities they present. These will be at the foundation of our future progress as we strive to achieve the new goals that each of these leaders lay out in their reports, and negotiate the hurdles they identify that would hinder our mission.

We are proud to present the results of this year’s Vision 2020 research—the inaugural report that will be the basis of ongoing research to track our progress on the path to a sustainable future.

Vision 2020

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    Regenerative Housing by 2020

    Regenerative Design chair Bob Berkebile looks at how new directions in design are taking their cues from the past and leading us toward nurturing buildings, homes, and communities connected with nature.

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    Walkable Urbanism Combats Climate Change

    Sustainable Communities chair Leinberger details why demand mitigation through developing walkable, transit-oriented, urban communities is effective in combating climate change.

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    The Next Built Environment, Today

    Energy & Carbon chairs Edward Mazria and Francesca Desmarais examine what the building sector needs to do to expand sustainable design and reduce carbon levels to 350 ppm by 2030.

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    Transparent Future

    Materials & Resources chair Malin discusses how transparency will permeate the world of building products, giving us nutrition-label-like sustainability data on everything we use.

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    Every Precious Drop

    Water Efficiency chairs Mary Ann Dickinson and Carole Baker detail how improved technologies, policies, and practices will help achieve new levels of water efficiency by 2020.

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    The Future of Healthy Housing

    The health benefits of green homes include reduced health care expenses, says Indoor Environmental chair David Jacobs.

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    Integration and Resilience

    Products and Performance chairs Alex Wilson and Peter Yost envision high-performance products that respond to more stringent requirements and the need for resilient design.

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    Pushing Performance

    Systems thinking will take building science into the areas of air purification, rightsized HVAC components, and home energy management systems, says Building Systems Research chair Michael Dickens.

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    The Balance of Systems

    Codes and Standards chair Sam Rashkin describes how new codes and evolving rating systems are addressing the "house-as-a-system" approach to performance.

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    A Virtuous Cycle

    Market Transformation chair Cliff Majersik says the drive to broader markets will be fueled by increased code compliance and the transformation of appraisal and finance processes.

  • The Vision 2020 Team

    We want to extend our appreciation to the following people and organizations for their support and guidance in this year’s research