Saturday, December 13, 2008

Green Word of the Day: Backcasting

Whereas forecasting is the process of predicting the future based on current trend analysis, backcasting approaches the challenge of discussing the future from the opposite direction.

Backcasting then is a method in which the future desired conditions are envisioned and steps are then defined to attain those conditions, rather than taking steps that are merely a continuation of present methods extrapolated into the future.

This kind of thinking is particularly important for meeting environmental targets, because making incremental improvements in the way we live and work today will not enough to make the difference needed to sustain life on earth in the long term. Some examples of backcasting are:

· The Architecture 2030 Challenge, a global initiative stating that all new buildings and major renovations reduce their fossil-fuel GHG-emitting consumption by 50% by 2010, incrementally increasing the reduction for new buildings to carbon neutral by 2030.
· The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent compared to 1990.
· Sony, Nike, Nokia and nine other multinational companies have signed a declaration in support of a 50% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, echoing similar calls being made by UN scientists and EU leaders during international climate negotiations.

So what backcasting targets can you set for your office? And then, more importantly, what do you need to change in the way you work to meet them?
Image from Epson


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