Building, rebuilding, and restoration of buildings and infrastructure will always create a constant need for construction. We need to establish sustainable practices for both the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure.
We need to set sustainable infrastructure and electricity standards for all new buildings, and base any infrastructure spending on meeting these standards. All federal buildings should also be “upgraded” to meet these standards. With the size of the federal government, a commitment to buying American efficiency and sustainability products will create massive demand that American entrepreneurs and businesses will be happy to fill.
Speaking of construction, humans make a lot of cement. A lot of it. Concrete is quite literally what the modern world is built on. Around 10 billion tons of concrete are made each year, and the process is very energy-intensive.
Concrete does naturally absorb carbon dioxide, but that’s a slow process, and it doesn’t fully balance out the amount released in its manufacture. As more of the world develops, we’ll need more concrete. We should invest in research to see if we can increase the absorption rate of carbon dioxide, or even find ways to capture carbon and turn it into concrete or a concrete substitute. The scale of concrete manufacturing makes it an ideal material to focus on, but we should also research other materials that can be used for a variety of functions that can help us combat climate change.
Finally, planning for a sustainable economy isn’t just about addressing current manufacturing and electricity needs. It’s also about addressing the electricity needs of the future. One of the largest areas of growth in this regard is computing and data storage.
The world is using hundreds of terawatts of energy for data storage, and the US makes up a substantial portion of that. This energy consumption is also set to double every few years. We need to stay ahead of this problem as we generate and store more data.
The government needs to fund research into solutions for this problem, from increased efficiency, to better and smarter cooling solutions, to storing data in space (where temperatures and vacuum make storage more energy efficient, and solar energy is plentiful).
Problems to be Solved
- checkNew buildings are built with materials that are harmful to the environment.
- checkOur current electricity and data storage methods are unsustainable.
- We need to own the future, which includes building a world-class infrastructure befitting the world’s most advanced society in 2020. When our infrastructure works better we’ll all work better.
- checkEstablish standards and practices for buildings and materials that are sustainable
- checkResearch smarter cooling solutions for data storage
As President I will...
- Commit to equipping and powering all federal buildings with American-made efficiency and clean energy technology.
- Set sustainable infrastructure standards for all new buildings; buildings that are being rebuilt or upgraded; and all federal buildings.
- Fund $500 million in research over 5 years into ways to:
- Decrease the carbon footprint of manufacturing concrete.
- Make concrete carbon neutral or negative.
- Utilize alternative materials - including alternatives to concrete - that can help us combat climate change.
- Fund research into any method that could lower the energy requirements of data storage.