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How Does Climate Change Affect a Project Manager? by City Tech Blogger Kareem Jackson

I am a student at New York City College of Technology pursuing a major in Construction Engineering Technology.   My goal is to become a project manager after completing my degree. As a project manager, I will have overall responsibility for the successful initiation, planning, design, execution, monitoring, controlling, and closure of a project.  I chose this major because I am interested in the development of residential, private, and commercial structures.  Climate change is defined as a long-term change in the earth’s climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature.

A greenhouse gas (GHG) is a gas that absorbs and emits radiant energy within the thermal infrared range. All buildings should be designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. One major source of global emissions is in our homes. Residential buildings demand heat as well as electricity for the increasing numbers of electrical devices used in homes, such as air conditioners and domestic appliances. The two most common sources of energy for buildings are purchased electricity and direct consumption of natural gas and petroleum for heating and cooking. Electricity accounts for approximately 78% of total buildings’ energy consumption and largely contributes to GHG emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GHG emissions from electricity have increased by about 18% since 1990 as the demand for electricity has grown, and fossil fuels have remained the dominant source for generation. The amount of energy consumed has quadrupled since 1940, while the population has roughly doubled. A sharp increase in new houses has also contributed to this trend. These results show that there is a need for buildings to be designed to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from energy use.

One method to address this issue is to implement passive design features that will reduce energy use for heating, cooling, lighting, and other activities. Over the life of a building, small gains in efficiency can add up to significant reductions in emissions. Due to climate change, the design of buildings will also have to be changed.  The changing rainfall, wind, temperature, storm, and other climatic patterns will all influence building design. This will require many buildings in different parts of the country to be strengthened to withstand stronger wind loads and more intense rainfall. Historic buildings are great attractions for both tourists and people with a love for structures, and the government does a great service by protecting these structures. Still, in the coming years they too will have to be modified to improve their efficiency. As time goes by and the climate changes, it is necessary for everyone in the construction industry to understand climate change, so that they can convince owners to implement sustainable energy in their buildings to limit greenhouse gases.


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