Last week, at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas, the architecture and building community made history when they overwhelmingly voted for the “AIA Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action,” 4,860 yes to 312 no.
The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) has collaborated with Architecture 2030 to update their Reveal label – an easy-to-understand method of displaying the energy performance of a building.
Projected U.S. building sector energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the year 2030 have declined for eleven straight years since the 2030 Challenge was issued in 2005.
We are facing two very different and defining moments in history, the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement and the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Section 433 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act commits new construction and major renovation of U.S. federal buildings to follow the 2030 Challenge targets for the reduction of fossil fuel consumption – the same targets adopted by 70% of the top 20 architecture, engineering, and planning firms in the U.S., as well as the AIA, ASHRAE, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, many state and local governments, and numerous other professional organizations.
However, Congress is in the midst of negotiating the first energy reform package in almost a decade, including language to repeal Section 433 and its requirement to hold federal buildings to the 2030 Challenge targets.
The final stages of the energy policy negotiations will take place when Congress returns to Washington after the November elections. The AIA – which supports the 2030 Challenge targets through its 2030 Commitment program – is arguing forcefully that “a strong message from the architectural industry on the importance of the 2030 targets will show that businesses can thrive while advancing sustainability.”
“The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its membership have worked with great success to reduce fossil fuel use in the building sector. They are now asking the architecture community to send a message to Congress not to repeal Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act.” Edward Mazria, CEO, Architecture 2030.
The AIA is asking architecture firms to sign onto a letter that the AIA is sending to members of Congress calling for the retention of Section 433. Firms wishing to sign on should do so by this Monday, October 24th.
Recent energy legislation passed by both chambers of Congress calls for the elimination of Section 433, threatening this long-standing and important commitment to greenhouse gas emissions reductions from the federal government.
Our guide to Architecture 2030-related events at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia.
The 2030 Challenge outlines real and obtainable targets for the building sector to curb global warming. In order to meet the described timeline, Architecture 2030 recommends that each firm or organization adopting The 2030 Challenge prepare a plan of action for implementing the initiative’s targets.
Each implementation plan will be different and unique to suit the adopting firm or organization’s structure and philosophy. However, each plan should contain the following key elements:
- Inform all partners, employees, consultants and clients that the firm has adopted The 2030 Challenge. Explain what The Challenge entails and why the firm has committed to its targets.
- Establish energy-efficiency as a central tenet of your firm’s design philosophy. Require energy-wise practices in the firm’s day-to-day activities.
- Require that all employees become educated in the design of energy-efficient buildings. Outline energy-efficient design strategies, technologies, and opportunities for each project. Organize regularly scheduled meetings to discuss how this information can be applied to all
- Engage clients in discussions relating to energy efficiency. Explain that reducing carbon emissions from the building sector is now a major focus for the firm and that the firm plans to incorporate cost-effective design strategies that should not increase the overall cost of the work.
Provide a life-cycle cost analysis for each project and encourage clients to review those costs to ascertain the true cost of each project.
- Establish a portfolio of the firm’s work that highlights energy efficiency. Demonstrate that the firm’s designers are knowledgeable professionals, with regard to energy-efficient design, who can produce quality projects within an allotted budget that meet an agreed upon schedule.
- Hire consultants and engineers who have adopted The 2030 Challenge and have a similar implementation plan within their firm. Approach every project with an energy focus and review the project for further energy reductions at every stage of development.
- Create a database that contains energy-consumption statistics for your projects. Include outside projects as a reference if your firm does not have a portfolio of energy-efficient work yet. Use this information as a tool to analyze strategies that work and those that may need improvement. Share this information with clients and collaborators. Include each completed project’s energy achievements in the database.
- Verify that your project meets The 2030 Challenge targets, either through a final energy analysis or through post-occupancy measured consumption. Document this data for future reference and in the firm’s portfolio to establish an energy priority.