CIET trainer, Ali Syed reviews energy policies and design strategies that can help reduce energy and GHG footprint climate change resilience.


According to United Nations Habitat, world cities contribute 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions while occupying only 2% of the world’s land surface. Additionally, UN estimates show that by 2050 two thirds of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas.


Such immense and rapid urbanization will require planning and design strategies for mitigation of resource consumption to achieve reductions in energy and carbon footprint and assist in creating low-carbon future cityscapes.


The following four topics encapsulate prominent energy policies and design strategies that can help reduce energy and GHG footprint for future resilience of urban infrastructure:


1. Enforcement of Green and Sustainability Codes and Standards

The imperative first step towards fighting climate change is to incorporate primary sustainability consideration for architectural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical design requirements as per all applicable national or jurisdictional codes and sustainability standards. Most of the nations in the world have developed and implemented some form of building design and sustainability codes.


There are several leading green building standards and for any national or municipal policy. It is crucial to mandate building design, construction and operation to comply with the most stringent applicable codes/standards. Some examples of leading design guides and standards are:

  • ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Building
  • ASHRAE 189.1 Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings
  • ASHRAE 62.1 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality


Based on jurisdiction, it is paramount to comply with all applicable sustainability standards and codes as a minimum.


2. Utility Rates and Green Fuels

It’s important to incentivize fuels with the lowest carbon footprint. Promoting fuels, appliances, equipment and technologies with low GHG footprint is paramount. Several leading organizations provide assessment and design tools for GHG and carbon footprint estimation for designers and developers (ex: US Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Canada).


In addition, it is important to use the utility rates that provide maximum operating cost savings. Savings from operating cost by reducing expensive fuel use is very helpful to improve the financial viability and payback of energy conservation measures.


3. Sustainability Policy for Architectural Design

Following architectural design policies have been shown to achieve significant energy and thus reduction of carbon footprint in the built environment.


  • Minimum requirements for envelope shall be based on the local climate and regional requirements
  • Make sure effective R-values are used and not nominal R-values
  • Reduce thermal bridging to prevent building energy loss
  • Design should be based on the overall window assembly U-value, not on the center of glass U-value


4. Sustainability Policy for Renewable Energy

Use of onsite renewable energy systems to offset building energy cost is a very prevalent strategy. For any climate change resilient urban development policy, it is important to assess the potential of non-polluting and renewable energy systems including solar, wind, geothermal, low-impact hydro, biomass and bio-gas strategies. With any renewable energy strategy, it should be mandated to take advantage of net metering with the local utility. A detailed discussion of renewable energy systems is beyond the scope of this paper, however, there are several national and municipal tools provided by many nations across the globe for the renewable energy potential for the project site.



Ali Syed 2

About Ali Syed

Ali is a trainer in CIET’s Certified Energy Manager course. He has more than 19 years of diverse experience in Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy Systems, Energy Performance Contracting, Energy Management and Sustainability. Ali is working as a Technical Lead overseeing the entire LEED, BOMA, Green Globes, Built Green Facilitation & Energy Modeling, HVAC System sizing, Energy Auditing, Life-Cycle Costing Assessment, Measurement & Verification and some Commissioning work. Ali is also a CaGBC Experienced Energy Modeller, LEED AP, Green Globes Professional (GGP), Certified Energy Manager (CEM) and Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP).  


Throughout his career, Ali has conducted numerous Energy Audits ranging from commercial, healthcare, educational, residential and heavy industrial clients across North America and Asia. He actively speaks at international energy conferences and symposia and teaches numerous courses in energy conservation across North America. Finally, Ali has published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles on energy conservation globally. He demonstrates in-depth knowledge and understanding of project management tools & methodologies, and instruments and processes related to project preparation & implementation, resource management, and stakeholder communications.



Read more articles from CIET Trainers

Newsletter subscription

Yes, I consent to receiving CIET communications. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

Share your training needs with us!

Would you like to be trained on a specific topic? Just let us know!

Express my interest
Send us your question

Send us an email and we will respond as soon as possible.