The future of Australia’s green economy lies in the hands of architects to lead innovations in carbon efficient designs, a scientist told Architecture & Design.

“Buildings have the potential to waste the most energy, representing nearly 40 per cent of Australia’s emissions,” climate change scientist Ben McNeil said.

He said building design will be the most important element of a new carbon economy, which will be led by architects to pave the way forward in efficient design.

“Designers are at the forefront of new energy efficient designs and are best placed to take it forward,” he said.

McNeil said architects will stimulate a green economy by creating new innovations and pushing them to the mass market.

“Leading architects are inherently positioned to influence ways forward and have great pulling power to create a new age of design,” he said. 

McNeil predicts the new buildings of this century will focus on natural lighting, ventilation and will use different materials and land-fills to boost energy efficiency.

While he agrees additional upfront costs to go green have stood in the way for some so far, McNeil said architects need to refocus designs to account for long-term rising energy costs.

“Architects need promote a shift in building space and work towards changing the attitude of the public,” he said.

There needs to be more focus on the substantial savings that green designs deliver in the long-term, he said.

“Innovation is the key and architects are well positioned to show Australia what we can do in the green economy.”