A new paradigm in infrastructure
There is a global need for deep evolutionary change in building industries.
Small ambitions, short-term thinking & incremental improvements can never be enough.
The Big Picture
Building industry plays a huge role in a tectonic change towards sustainable future.
The world's infrastructure is at the crossroads of three areas of sustainability:
Any viable technology of the future has to operate not just in one area but all three.
Let's take a closer look at the trio.
It's impossible to take a global view on materials in building industries without mentioning concrete. It is the second most consumed substance on Earth after water. It comes then as no surprise that manufacturing of cement, a key ingredient in concrete, contributes to 5% of global CO2 emissions. To make matters worse the production of cement produces CO2 both directly and indirectly. The material processing directly releases half of the emissions, while the consumed energy results in the other half indirectly. So even if the renewable energy is used for the energy part we still have halfway to go. And that's the best case scenario.
Trend is not helping either - over 5% annual growth of concrete production is expected towards the end of this decade. To understand the impact this material already has we need to put the sheer scale of the world's current consumption in perspective - China used more concrete in 3 years that the US in the entire 20th century.
What to do? It is important to avoid the vastly overused concrete where it is not necessary and start engineering viable alternatives rather than relying on advances in materials.
Infrastructure is at the forefront of energy consumption. Up to 40% of global energy is consumed in buildings which produces about one third of all CO2 emissions.
It's fair to expect the world's energy need only to go up. Despite higher standards in building efficiency it's hard to see how could the total energy consumption come down or even stay at the same level. The efficiency standards increases are simply not enough considering the magnitude of the challenge - the developing world is expected to add up to 2.5 billion people to the urban population by 2050.
The fact is building of the world has only begun.
For all the energy consumption in buildings there has to be energy creation. Re-imagination of how energy is generated must take place. Fortunately infrastructure is blessed with the ability to generate energy and become self-sufficient. This integration is an unused trait as just a fraction of the new construction have it built-in. And it is only going to get magnified in the coming years as the new enabling technologies bring the energy independence ever so closer.
The most overlooked aspect of sustainable infrastructure is the ability to adapt. We think of buildings or bridges as static objects, something that cannot be moved once built and even the state-of-the-art modern architecture still shies away from mobility. Yet adaptation is the way of life itself. Monolithic architecture belongs to the pyramids as ability to adapt will become absolutely essential. Let's use a simple illustration to understand the vital importance of mobility.
Imagine you have a magic wand that can stop all the CO2 emissions today. Because of the momentum we've already created we would see the ocean rise to continue for centuries and by 2100 the water level would rise up to 1 meter. Then the material scarcity comes into play - according to the latest University of Rhode Island study we don't even have enough concrete to protect seaports from the rising oceans, let alone the rest of the infrastructure.
Although the predictions vary the major lesson is crystal clear.
We need to start building 10x better infrastructure today.
This requires breakthroughs, decades of scaling and well targeted investment.
Though massive challenge we believe it is most definitely achievable.
The 2030 Plan
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
Rada Building's mission is to bring breakthrough sustainable infrastructure to the world.
Every mission needs a comprehensive plan, milestones and a deadline.
The 2030 Plan is to deliver mass-produced solutions in three stages:
Future belongs to self-sufficient cities. Newly connected, powered by micro-grids and boosted by global shift to local production.
Cities should bear more resemblance to a resilient living organism than a fragile top-down machine. Our long-term goal is to build this new generation of cities.