2015 Kemper Award, Edward Mazria

Washington, D.C. and Santa Fe, NM – The Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) bestowed the Edward C. Kemper Award on Edward Mazria, AIA, for catalyzing the architecture community to address climate change through the design of decarbonized, sustainable, and resilient built environments. Named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, the award is given annually to an architect who has contributed significantly to the profession through service to the AIA.

In his 40-year career, Mazria has been at the center of the sustainable design or green building movement, pushing a grassroots revolution to get architects, planners, public officials, developers, and decision-makers to see how buildings and infrastructure affect the environment, why architecture and planning matters, and the key role architects must play in driving positive change. Through research, compelling imagery, and tireless public presentations, he made it clear that architecture and planning are the gateway to true long-term global sustainability. Mazria founded Architecture 2030 in 2006 and issued the 2030 Challenge: a measured, achievable approach to incrementally reducing fossil fuel consumption in new buildings and major renovations by the year 2030, by which time all new buildings and major renovations should be completely carbon neutral.

The 2030 Challenge was immediately endorsed by the AIA, which used it as an impetus to create new task forces and continuing-education requirements. In 2009, the AIA issued the complementary 2030 Commitment, which helps firms track their progress towards meeting the challenge and offers tools for developing sustainability actions plans for firms’ internal operations.

This year, Mazria presented the Roadmap to Zero Emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), detailing a clear path to zero emissions in the built environment by 2050. Subsequently, the International Union of Architects (UIA), with member organizations representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries worldwide, committed to these targets at their 2014 World Congress with unanimous adoption of the 2050 Imperative, a declaration to eliminate CO2 emissions in the built environment by 2050. As important, all of the regional Architect Councils of Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa also signed on to the declaration, something that is unparalleled in the 65-year history of the UIA.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mazria earned an architecture degree from the Pratt Institute and continued with graduate studies at the University of New Mexico. He built a successful practice in New Mexico, becoming an expert on passive solar building design and energy efficiency. During the oil embargos of the 1970s, Mazria closely examined the energy consumption of his buildings – long before any widespread understanding of climate change existed. His projects were bright and airy, filled with natural light, and always attuned – through building form, orientation, and materials – to their climate and ecology. In the early 2000s, while reviewing research on climate change and carbon emissions for a series of workshops at his firm, Mazria noticed that all of the projections at that time did not include a Building Sector – as if, to researchers, Building Sector energy consumption and emissions did not exist. Mazria discovered that those projections were not telling the true story. Our risk of irreparable environmental harm had not been mitigated between the 1970s and the early 2000s, but had metastasized – and he wanted to let architects know.

Mazria looked at how energy consumption is measured in the U.S. Typically, in 2002, energy consumption was broken down into four categories: industry (35 percent), transportation (27 percent), residential (21 percent), and commercial (17 percent). In many cases at that time there were five Sectors – industry, transportation, electricity, residential, and commercial buildings – with buildings at an even smaller percentage. Mazria saw a common theme across several of these categories: these represented buildings, spaces, and materials that were, for better or for worse, designed and specified by architects. He combined the residential and commercial categories, and placed building materials and a percentage of the industrial category designed by architects in this new group. By redrawing a few lines on a pie graph, Mazria had created the most important statistic in the sustainable design movement: buildings account for nearly half (48 percent) of all U.S. energy consumption.

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About Architecture 2030
Architecture 2030 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization with a mission to rapidly transform the built environment from the major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate and energy crises. Architecture 2030 pursues two primary objectives: the dramatic reduction in global fossil fuel consumption and GHG emissions of the built environment by changing the way cities, communities, infrastructure, and buildings, are planned, designed, and constructed and; the regional development of an adaptive, resilient built environment that can manage the impacts of climate change, preserve natural resources, and access low-cost, renewable energy resources.
Website: architecture2030.org. Twitter: @arch2030. Facebook: Architecture2030

 

About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

Photo credit: ©2013 Jamey Stillings Photography. All Rights Reserved.