On the EDGE of a Global Transformation

International Finance Corporation and Architecture 2030 Collaborate on Zero Net Carbon Buildings for the developing world.

We’re delighted to announce that Architecture 2030 and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have partnered to support the international architecture and building community in designing zero net carbon (ZNC) buildings worldwide.

IFC created the EDGE program, a green building certification system with free online software for emerging markets. As part of the partnership, EDGE software has been enhanced to include carbon reporting, as well as recognition for the procurement of off-site renewable energy and carbon offsets. This improvement will support building projects in dense urban areas, which first target on-site efficiency strategies and then add or procure renewable energy in order to reach ZNC, as defined by Architecture 2030.

“With the anticipated and unprecedented growth of the building sector in China, India, and other developing countries, it is essential that designers have the capability to measure the energy and emissions impacts of their projects and immediately target ZNC as a viable design strategy.”

– Edward Mazria, CEO and Founder of Architecture 2030


Image Source: app.edgebuildings.com  

2030 Challenge International Benchmarks Set

Architecture 2030 will also be integrating the energy consumption baselines from IFC’s EDGE into its Zero Tool, which is used by architects to estimate building fossil fuel energy consumption baselines and targets. EDGE baselines are sophisticated sets of city-based climate and cost data, consumption patterns, and algorithms for a variety of building types in 131 countries. Achieving ZNC in these fast growing markets will be critical to reaching the targets set by the Paris Agreement. Of the approximately 672 billion square feet estimated to be built worldwide by 2030, 78% will be in EDGE-covered countries (42% in China and India alone).

This announcement also serves to support the growing number of international firms striving to meet the 2030 Challenge targets, including those participating in the American Institute of Architects’ 2030 Commitment. In the 2016 reporting period for the Commitment, over 2.5 billion square feet of projects reported (or 28% of total floor space) were in EDGE-covered countries. The AIA also supports the use of EDGE baselines by encouraging signatories of the 2030 Commitment to use the EDGE software when benchmarking international projects.

“EDGE provides locally relevant baselines for the international design community, and the inclusion of onsite and offsite renewable energy is critical for zero net carbon buildings in rapidly urbanizing areas.”

– Vincent Martinez, COO of Architecture 2030

> see press release here

On Track to Meet the Paris Agreement

The U.S. building sector is on track to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set by the U.S. in the Paris Agreement.

This month, Donald Trump announced the largely symbolic withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, reaffirming his commitment to resurrecting the waning coal industry and accelerating the production of domestic fossil fuels. The reasons given for withdrawing were the imposition of “draconian financial and economic burdens”, higher energy costs, blocking the development of clean coal and building new coal plants, and leaving “millions and millions of families trapped in poverty and joblessness”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Paris Agreement Facts

The Paris climate agreement is voluntary, with each country setting its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets and policies. There are no enforcement mechanisms or penalties for not meeting declared targets, nor is there anything in the agreement that prohibits the building of coal plants, clean coal development or fossil fuel production, or adjusting country targets.

The fact is, coal production and use in the U.S. is declining because:

  1. building sector electricity demand is dropping,
  2. less expensive natural gas and renewable energy are increasingly being used for electricity generation, and
  3. coal exports are falling.

Progress Towards the U.S. Target

The U.S. set its own non-binding GHG emissions reduction target in the Paris agreement at 21% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025 (excluding LULUCF – land use, land use change, and forestry).

The building sector is now on track to meet the Paris reduction targets – reaching a 24.5% reduction below 2005 levels by 2025, and 30.4% by 2030.

-Data Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2017 projections

Specifically, U.S. building sector emissions are currently 16% below 2005. This is in stark contrast to projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that were made in 2005. In that year, the EIA projected building energy consumption and GHG emissions in 2016 would rise 43.8% and 52.4% respectively above 2005 levels by 2030.

Since 2005, building sector energy consumption projections have declined each year; consumption levels are 5.1% below 2005 levels today, even though we have added about 30 billion square feet to our building stock over the past decade. Also, American businesses and households have saved over $500 billion in projected energy costs since 2005. That means more money is being distributed throughout the U.S. to create jobs and increase spending on clothing, food, education, travel, electronics, construction, equipment, and housing. The additional savings to Americans will amount to over $2 trillion by 2030.


What does this all mean?

Practically speaking, the train has already left the station on GHG emissions reductions, and the building sector is leading the way. It is on track to meet our Paris 2025 target, with or without President Trump on board.

INNOVATION 2030 – A Student Competition to Transform the Course of Design

The INNOVATION 2030 student design competition has launched. INNOVATION 2030 seeks to transform design studio education and professional practice through a design and ideas competition…

The Wall – A Shameful and Immoral Act

At a time when the White House is demanding Congress allocate billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, it might be wise to reflect on its real impacts. The decision to build a wall is based on fear and demagoguery, and its human and political repercussions are critical, but there are two additional issues that haven’t been adequately brought to the attention of the American public.

First, there are the practical implications of walling off a 1,254-mile border along the Rio Grande River, or the flying distance between Boston and Miami.

A border wall and access road would be built on the U.S. side of the river outside the flood plain of the Rio Grande. Because of the river’s twists and turns, a barrier could not follow the actual border, meaning that some sections of the wall would be miles from the river. If the average width of land from the river to the wall were one mile, the land beyond the wall would roughly equal an area the size of Rhode Island.

Such a wall would cut the entire United States and state of Texas off from 1,254 miles of the Rio Grande River and in effect cede access to the river, its reservoirs, and the land from the river to the wall, to the Mexico side.

People, animals, and livestock on the U.S. side of the wall would not be able to reach the river, its water, recreation areas, reservoirs, or wildlife. Economically speaking, billions of dollars in commerce and wildlife tourism would be lost for towns on both sides of the border. And, according to the MIT Technology Review, building a concrete wall would leave a carbon footprint of 7.2 million metric tons of CO2, or the equivalent annual emissions of the entire city of Washington DC.

Second, and more important, a physical barrier that prevents people from passing through would also disrupt wildlife migration corridors along the Rio Grande border, isolate animal populations, fragment and decimate wildlife and habitats, and threaten one of the most biodiverse areas in the U.S. All this would take place in a hot semi-arid region, expected to get hotter and drier with climate change, where water is a life-sustaining and precious resource.

So, if there are concerns about potential social and security issues posed by unchecked immigration, building a wall or physical barrier that causes irreparable harm to people, communities, ecosystems, and wildlife, is not a solution: it is in fact a shameful and immoral act that ironically will destroy that which it purports to protect.

— Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

(photo courtesy of Northern Jaguar Project – used under licence)

Demonstrate Your Building’s Performance with the ILFI Reveal Label

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.

Reveal is designed for owners, managers, architects, 2030 Challenge adopters, and AIA 2030 Commitment signatories who want the validation and confirmation of third-party verification for their building’s energy performance.

The Reveal label displays a building’s:

  • Energy use intensity
  • Zero Energy Performance Index (ZEPI) score
  • Reduction in energy use from the 2030 Challenge baseline
  • Onsite and offsite renewable energy generation (if applicable)

The Reveal label provides a clear, third-party verified program for validating reaching the 2030 Challenge targets or achieving a Zero Net Carbon building.

– Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030.

Reveal – Using the Architecture 2030 Zero Tool

2030 Commitment signatories and 2030 Challenge adopters can use Architecture 2030’s new Zero Tool to generate post-occupancy building data and submit that data to the Reveal program for third-party verification that a project meets the Challenge targets.

2030 District members can also demonstrate that their buildings meet the 2030 Challenge targets through the Zero Tool, and have their building’s performance third-party verified by submitting data from the Zero Tool to the Reveal program.


More Information

For more details on the Reveal label and how to apply for a label, visit the ILFI website.

You can learn more about the Zero Tool here.

The Zero Tool Is Here!

Architecture 2030 introduces the Zero Tool, a free innovative online application that allows architects, designers, engineers, building owners and managers, and policymakers to calculate building energy consumption baselines and targets.

Support Architecture 2030!

Throughout 2017, three intrepid members of the Architecture 2030 staff will train for and undertake 40-mile hiking and 200-mile biking fundraising events. Donating to these adventures is the first time individuals have had the chance to support the work of Architecture 2030 directly.

To highlight the local impacts of climate change on sensitive ecosystems while raising money for Architecture 2030, Erin McDade and Lindsay Rasmussen will be taking part in a four-day hike in the Glacier National Park in Montana, while Andrew Lee will be undertaking a four-day bike ride around the Puget Sound.


Erin and Lindsay will be hiking more than 40 miles in the stunning Glacier National Park in Montana.

“While hiking, we’ll see first-hand the impacts of climate change on Glacier National Park,” said Research Intern Lindsay. “Tying particular places to the global work we do is one of the great opportunities of this hike.”

The ride and hike are organized by our friends at Climate Ride, a non-profit organization that puts on multi-day expeditions to raise funds for climate change focused organizations.

“I’m so passionate about the work that we do at Architecture 2030 that I can’t wait for this opportunity to get outside and raise awareness and support for our efforts,” said Program Manager Erin.

Up to now, most of Architecture 2030’s work supporting climate change action in the building sector has been funded by foundation grants or contributions from architecture firms. For the first time, individuals have the opportunity to support Architecture 2030’s programs and initiatives by sponsoring our dedicated team.


Andrew will be riding 200 miles around the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest.

“Putting in the training to ride 50 miles a day throughout the event will be tough,’ said Project Manager Andrew, “But knowing that every mile I ride will generate donations to support our work will keep me going.”

We’ll be bringing you more information about their training and preparation before they embark on their trips, and checking in with them once they return from their adventures.

To support Erin, Lindsay, and Andrew (and the work of Architecture 2030) you can donate to their Climate Ride team page today!

2030 Curriculum Project: New Courses

Five Additional Courses Selected for 2016-2017 Academic Year

New courses have been added to the 2030 Curriculum Project, Architecture 2030’s initiative to support courses at US architecture and planning schools that ‘fully integrate lessons in energy use, emissions, and resiliency into the widest possible range of projects and topic areas, and across all year levels.’

These five courses join others selected for the 2030 Curriculum Project in the fall of 2016, recently called ‘The 7 Best Sustainable Design Courses in America’ by Metropolis magazine.

All twelve courses represent creative and resourceful efforts by faculty and program chairs to integrate critical issues of sustainability in new and unique ways. These are innovative models for transforming the way sustainable design is taught in US architecture and planning schools, particularly in core and early design studios, history courses, electives, and other program areas where this material is not traditionally or adequately addressed.

Architecture 2030 looks forward supporting these inspiring faculty and sharing the successful outcomes of their teaching.

Here are the details on the five new courses:

UC Berkeley, Environmental Design
Gabriel Kaprelian and A. Ghigo DiTommaso, with Chrissie Bradley
DISC*2017 (Design and Innovation for Sustainable Cities) Studio, Summer 2017
DISC* is an intensive five-week summer program that explores an interdisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to design and analysis in the urban environment. Through lectures, urban seminars, workshops, field studies, and studio work, students will engage in discourse and design that aim to address the challenges of urbanism with innovative and sustainable solutions. DISC* 2017 will focus on the urbanized waterfront around the San Francisco Bay Area – addressing population increase, social inequity, infrastructure needs, and the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
UMASS Amherst, Architecture
Ajla Aksamija
ARCH 601-1 Graduate Design Studio IV, Spring 2017
This high-performance building design studio is paired with an elective seminar, ARCH 591 S-1 Sustainable and High Performance Facades. The design problem is a ZNE research laboratory in East Boston. Instruction will focus on energy analysis and simulation, the integration of passive and active building systems, new materials for high-performance envelopes, and the design process for optimizing building performance.
University of Oregon, Architecture
Brook Muller
ARCH 4/584 Intermediate Architectural Design Studio:
‘Hydro-Logical Architecture for the Urban Watershed,’ Winter 2017
This studio highlights the inseparability of water and energy concerns.  Site and building water systems (for rainwater harvest, conveyance, treatment, recycling, discharge, etc.) can drive planning, programming, and other design decisions in high-performance buildings, and can even be a part of passive solutions for heating and cooling. A team of outside consultants advised in crafting the design brief and will assist students and participate in reviews throughout the quarter.
Portland State University, Architecture
Corey Griffin and B.D. Wortham-Galvin, with Kalina Vander Poel
ARCH 232 Architecture and Cultural History III, with Building Science Lab to Advance Teaching (BUILT) Integration, Spring 2017
This course integrates building science performance analysis with an architectural history survey course. During a four-week learning unit at the beginning of the semester, students will work in teams to collect and analyze data from historic buildings in Portland using tools and training provided by BUILT. Awareness and understanding of building performance in the historic context will complement other analyses of these buildings over the course of the term.
University of Wyoming, Civil & Architectural Engineering
Gang Tan and Anthony Denzer
ARE 4920 Energy Engineering and Economics, Spring 2017
Taught by members of the Building Energy Research Group (BERG), this new project-based course relates design decisions to the economic realities of energy use and policy. This course examines the energy chain from exploration and production to consumption. Students will learn about electricity markets, renewables, embodied energy, carbon accounting, variable pricing, and incentives, and they will use economic concepts such as return-on-investment, net present value, asset depreciation, and risk to inform design decisions for projects at multiple scales.  

Photo shows final reviews for Arch 401at Ball State University, College of Architecture and Planning – the studio participated in the 2030 Curriculum Project pilot. The jury are (left to right): Lora Teagarden, AIA, RATIO Architects; Craig von Deylan, AIA , BLACKLINE; Michele Chiuini, Professor of Architecture, Ball State University; Anthony Guida, AIA, Architecture 2030; Drew White, FAIA, AXIS Architecture.

2030 Districts Take Next Step as Leaders on Local Climate Change Action

After five years of support and oversight from Architecture 2030, the fifteen 2030 Districts across North America establish their own non-profit.

The private-sector led 2030 Districts have been established in cities across North America as grassroots efforts to provide a business model for urban sustainability through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources. The 2030 Districts work towards a common goal of meeting the energy, water, and transportation emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in its 2030 Challenge for Planning.

Now, after five years of growth with oversight from Architecture 2030, the fifteen 2030 Districts have established their own non-profit, the 2030 Districts Network, to support their efforts.

“We understood the power of creating a District model to address resource conservation in cities. It has been gratifying to see the market signal that this model is the right way to create change in the industry.”
– Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030 and member of the new 2030 Districts Network Board

The 2030 Districts Network includes more than 290 million square feet of member-owned real estate, over 1,000 buildings, and over 600 different member organizations.

While the Districts are managed by their local boards, the 2030 Districts Network was established to support peer exchange across Districts, store and share data, use the aggregate purchasing power of the District membership to secure reduced costs, create national partnership relationships, and influence national policy on transportation infrastructure and building water and energy efficiency.

Previously, Architecture 2030 had run the Network, making sure all 2030 Districts benefit from partnerships, support, and services, including technical support, fundraising guidance, access to national partners, summits, webinars and capacity building workshops.

But with the 2030 Districts’ successful growth – in addition to the fifteen Established Districts, there are five more cities that have reached the Emerging District stage of development – the logical step was for the Network to become its own non-profit organization.

As part of this move, the 2030 Districts have selected the following thirteen members to its initial Board of Governors:

Name Organization Name Organization
Tyler Harris General Services Administration (GSA) Anna Siefken Carnegie Mellon University
Jason Kobeda Major League Baseball Jiri Skopek Jones Lang LaSalle
Edward Mazria Architecture 2030 Tim Thiel Covestro, LLC
Sara Neff Kilroy Realty Jon Utech The Cleveland Clinic
Brett Phillips Unico Properties Jenita Warner Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District
Dave Pogue CBRE Jill Ziegler Forest City Realty Trust
Megan Saunders Stamford 2030 District

Under this new leadership, the Network will look to build upon the success and expand its reach to more cities in North America and beyond.

“As a national real estate owner and developer, Forest City sees the 2030 Districts Network as a great asset in helping us achieve our sustainability goals, aligning those objectives with municipal plans, and effectively communicating our efforts to stakeholders,” said Jill Ziegler, Forest City Realty Trust’s Director of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, and a new 2030 Districts Network board member. “We look forward to working with like-minded organizations within the 2030 Districts Network to share best practices and further sustainability efforts on a broader scale at all levels.”

The majority of 2030 Districts are located in downtown commercial cores and city centers, which typically have the highest and most concentrated energy and environmental impact. There, the reduction of energy and water consumption, transportation emissions, and improved indoor air quality provides the additional benefit of increased competitiveness in the business environment and owner’s returns on investment. Several of the Districts that are vulnerable to environmental threats such as flooding also focus on community and economic resilience.

The Districts have an impact on raising awareness of climate change and mobilizing community action.  Several Districts have published annual reports documenting their successes and have been able to create meaningful and quantifiable strides to meeting their goals.

The Pittsburgh District member buildings were able to realize a 12.5% drop in energy consumption through the end of 2015 while the Stamford District member buildings saw a 6.2% reduction in energy consumption through 2015.  The entire Seattle District has seen a 10% reduction in energy consumption through 2015.

“Architecture 2030 is delighted to be handing over supervision of the 2030 Districts to their own free-standing organization. The Districts have been a great success, and we look forward to their continued growth and development, supported by the 2030 Districts Network.”
– Edward Mazria

U.S. Building Sector Emissions Down – The Driving Force: You!

We begin the New Year with good news!

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.

The driving force behind the dramatic decline is the architecture and planning community and our colleagues in the building sector. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2016, projections to the year 2030 for building sector energy consumption (building operations) have declined by 18.5 Quadrillion BTUs since 2005 (or the equivalent of 1,209 coal-fired 250 MW power plants).


With building sector energy consumption continuing to decrease slightly each year, together with the addition of new renewable energy generation and the substitution of lower emissions fuels for coal, total U.S. building sector GHG emissions are dropping dramatically.

emissions_1000According to the EIA, U.S. building sector emissions in 2030 are projected to be 29% below 2005 levels.

Of course, we have been exceeding EIA projections for energy consumption and emissions reductions each year since 2005 – all without any significant congressional legislation for the past 11 years, and with limited state adoption of advanced building energy codes. So, if the past is any indication, we can expect to see building sector emissions drop 35% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This is all good news as the building sector continues to lead the way in U.S. fossil fuel and emissions reductions.

It is clear that an unshakable and independent foundation for resilient and zero carbon planning, building design, and materials and construction is now well established, and as a result, is becoming a worldwide movement unto itself.

“Together we have been, and remain, the driving force behind an evolution to the highest form of design – addressing a new and unprecedented problem, that of climate change and its impact on all of Earth’s life forms.”
– Edward Mazria

As we enter the New Year, we are confident this global phenomenon is here to stay. And the force our community has created will continue to grow through innovation, education, and practice… thanks to all of you!