Friday, September 30, 2022

Building Industry Climate Action


The building industry is currently leading its climate action by developing standards and practices that decarbonize the physical construction of new and existing structures and infrastructure, as well as electrifying all energy use. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is currently developing its national design criteria via the Committee on The Environment (COTE).

The basis for this approach is a published study done by the Worthen Foundation, for use by the industry: 

"Reducing and eliminating carbon emissions from the built environment — building decarbonization — is one of the best opportunities to combat climate change today. The built environment contributes approximately 40% of overall climate emissions, and the technologies necessary to decarbonize buildings are already proven. The William J. Worthen Foundation's Building Decarbonization Practice Guide is a free resource for design professionals, developers, funders, and policymakers, showing the steps that are required today to create a zero carbon future."

The AIA is developing the framework for building decarbonization and electrification for use by the profession, in concert with Architecture 2030.

"To support the 2030 Challenge, the American Institute of Architects created the 2030 Commitment Program, aimed at transforming the practice of architecture to respond to the climate crisis in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based, and data-driven. Over 400 A/E/P firms have adopted the 2030 Commitment, and firms from all over the country have been tracking and reporting projects since 2010, with over 2.7 billion ft2 of project work reported in 2016 alone."

The architecture profession isn't waiting around for the US to adopt a formal framework along with the other countries around the globe, it's been underway for years now. The AIA is developing coursework for professionals that provide the resources and training necessary to meet the framework objectives.AIA California is leading this charge with developing coursework and Building Code revisions so that adoption is rapid and comprehensive.

"According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the time for climate action is now. Architects play a crucial role in mitigating and adapting to climate change through sustainable and resilient design. Energy efficiency and renewable energy, materials transparency, the protection of water resources, and other sustainability strategies support mitigation by conserving resources and reducing carbon emissions."

The AIA was in attendance at COP26 and will also be present at COP27 in Egypt this November.