Michelle Addington on the limits of energy efficiency

The Five Thousand Pound Life: The Energy Issue, The Energy Issues Panel (Part 2)

May 10, 2014

Michelle Addington cautions against our use of the term “energy efficiency,” which is a misleading phrase meant to demonstrate sustainability. The panel seizes on this notion of valuing energy in absolute terms — such as the imperative to emit no more than 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, per capita — rather than the relational measurement of efficiency.

Addington was a Professor at the Yale School of Architecture and Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies at the time of this panel. She is now the Dean of UT Austin School of Architecture. Her work focuses on defining the strategic relationships between differing scales of energy phenomena and possible actions from the domain of building construction.

The Five Thousand Pound Life: The Energy Issue was a symposium on energy and architecture organized by The Architectural League and the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) in May 2014.

The Energy Issues panel brought together a diverse group of architects and academics along with a filmmaker and a journalist to each present an idea on energy through his or her particular lens.