2030 Curriculum Project – Second Call for Proposals

The 2030 Curriculum Project has got off to a great start – the courses selected to participate in our pilot program were recently called the “The 7 Best Sustainable Design Courses in America” by Metropolis magazine.

Architecture 2030 is now seeking additional faculty and schools to participate in the 2030 Curriculum Project. If you have an innovative teaching proposal for winter, spring, or summer session in 2017, we encourage you to apply by January 3, 2017.


How we design buildings and cities today will determine if the effects of climate change will be manageable or catastrophic.

To best prepare future architects and urban planners, sustainability must immediately become an essential issue of all design activity, evaluation, and dialog at professional architecture and planning schools.

In recent years, the most dramatic improvements in sustainable design education have been a result of the creative and resourceful efforts of individual faculty and department leadership. Yet significant gaps still remain, especially between schools and across topic areas.

A Call for Teaching Proposals in the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Architecture 2030 is calling upon educators to submit innovative teaching proposals that expand and fully integrate lessons in energy use, emissions, and resiliency into the widest possible range of projects and topic areas, and across all year levels – particularly in early design studios, history courses, and areas where this material is not adequately or traditionally addressed.

Teaching proposals selected for the 2030 Curriculum Project will serve as instructional models that can be shared and implemented widely. Participating educators will have the opportunity to transform the culture of sustainable design education not only within their own schools, but in architecture and planning programs nationwide.

Architecture 2030 will support selected teaching and curricular proposals with:

  • Expert review and feedback
  • Access to the latest design and analysis software and tutorials
  • Connections to local and regional expert practitioners
  • Continued development of sustainable design resources like the 2030 Palette

Successful learning concepts and outcomes will be promoted and widely shared through:

  • Partner media and organizations
  • Peer-reviewed journals and/or academic conferences
  • A database to share course resources and outcomes with other faculty and programs
  • Opportunities to publish new content to the 2030 Palette

The 2016-2017 academic year will be the pilot phase of the 2030 Curriculum Project. All faculty and program administrators at all US architecture and planning schools are encouraged to submit course and/or curricular proposals. The deadline for submittals is now January 3, 2017

Update: application is now closed

Questions about the 2030 Curriculum Project?
Email curriculum@architecture2030.org or call Anthony Guida, Program Manager at (505) 988-5309 x19


Photo by mroczknj, Flickr

Trump/AIA. . . A Sleeping Giant Awakens

The election of Donald Trump, and a hastily composed (and later retracted) post-election statement by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), has galvanized the U.S. design community. After much soul-searching prompted by anxiety and anger, architects and our allied design and planning professionals have articulated a vibrant vision for themselves and their profession.

Design professionals, faculty, students, AIA chapters and other organizations have made it clear that we care deeply about climate change and its consequences, and we understand that there is an urgent need to build a just, equitable, and sustainable built environment worldwide. Many are anxious about what the recent election means for the future, but there’s also an increased awareness that we, as individuals and as a profession, are a formidable force for implementing change.

Now is the time to act. We plan, design, specify, and influence the built world. We can be complicit in further environmental disruption that leads to human suffering, or we can resolve to create a built environment that mitigates and even reverses the worst effects of climate change.

To that end, Architecture 2030 calls for the following actions:

Professional Organizations (e.g., American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, ASHRAE, Urban Land Institute, Congress for the New Urbanism, US Green Building Council, etc.):

  • Promote carbon neutral design and planning to fulfill the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Advocate for institutions and governments at all levels to do the same.
  • End the distinction between “design” awards and “sustainable design” awards. All design and planning awards must include environmental and social stewardship as a core criterion, including an evaluation of how projects effectively and skillfully address energy consumption and emissions and promote resiliency, as well as aesthetics and other programmatic concerns.
  • Promote sustainable and resilient communities, including access to affordable housing, local renewable energy (e.g. community solar), public transportation, and community services.

Accrediting and Registration Boards, and Academic Organizations  (e.g. National Architectural Accrediting Board, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, etc.):

  • Establish ecological literacy and competency in carbon neutral design as part of all core design studio courses, and as a prerequisite for professional licensure and accreditation of professional degree programs.
  • Establish continuing education in carbon neutral design, tools, products, and climate adaptation and resiliency, as a requirement for intern development and professional license renewal.
  • Promote design and planning work and scholarship that advances a deep understanding of the relationship between built and natural environments.
  • Support exceptional instruction and student work that demonstrates theoretical and practical competence in designing and planning resilient, sustainable, equitable, and carbon-neutral built environments.

Students and Faculty:

  • Students:
    • Demand a design and planning education that prepares students intellectually and practically for the future of a carbon-neutral built environment and the challenges posed by rapid urbanization and projected climate disruption.
    • Be creative, informed, and inclusive. Solving climate change through the built environment is about visionary planning and design, active engagement in social issues, and a working understanding of policy and building technologies.
  • Faculty:
    • Inspire and prepare the next generation of designers and planners through innovative coursework that integrate lessons in energy, emissions, resiliency, embodied carbon, and climate adaptation in all courses, and specifically in design studio projects.
    • Teach the values and strategies that contribute to the creation of urban built environments that are sustainable, just, and equitable. Over the next 15 years, 1.1 billion people will move into urban areas worldwide, which is the equivalent of the entire population of the Western Hemisphere (North, Central, and South America).

Firms and Practitioners:

  • Commit to carbon-neutral design and planning in all projects, and report progress toward that goal.
  • Commit to reducing the embodied carbon of projects through planning, design, construction methods, and product specifications. This is especially important as we move towards a zero carbon built environment.
  • Design for the challenges posed by the projected impacts of climate change and rapid urbanization.


  • Use your voice. Insist that your institutions represent your values. We must harness the renewed sense of purpose we’ve seen over the last few weeks, and use our voice not just in our internal debates, but also to advocate for action on a broader level.
  • Participate in local, state and national politics. The core values of the design community are expressed through actions.

Recent events have awakened a sleeping giant.  Now is the time to channel this newfound energy and work toward a carbon-free future, one that leverages the transformative power of design and planning to create a better world.

– Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

Illustration from
Tales from The Edda, by Helen Zimmern and Kate Greenway (W. Swan Sonnenschein, London, 1882. Public domain.) Adapted by Demetra Mazria.

Life During Trump: Progress on Climate Change Will Come From the Bottom Up


“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. Should the U.S. government fail to honor or withdraw from the Paris Agreement, this will be completely inconsistent with our core values and professional and civic responsibilities. 

The U.S. and global architecture and planning community, along with our colleagues in the building sector and sub-national governments, will continue to lead the effort to implement the objectives contained in the Paris Agreement and drive progress toward an equitable, sustainable, resilient, and carbon-neutral built environment.” 

          Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030


Dear colleagues and friends,

As many are left feeling fearful and uncertain in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is important to remember that we have been, and continue to be, far from powerless to continue to effect meaningful change. After the 2012 elections, when Congressional gridlock set in, it became evident that change in the built environment would not happen from the top down. It had to happen from the bottom up.

With the election results last week, this has not changed. Our work is now more important than ever. For some time now, real and measurable progress has been made at the state and local levels, and in the private sector where building design and planning, innovation, equity, policy, business, and climate change intersect. This broad base of momentum is firmly established and will continue to accelerate, regardless of last week’s election.

Worldwide, 533 cities are now reporting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 70% increase in reporting since the Paris Agreement. To date, 30% of these cities have GHG emissions reduction targets. In North America, 56% of the cities reporting have GHG emissions reduction targets, many declaring zero emissions or an 80% reduction by 2050 or earlier.

The International Union of Architects with member organizations representing over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries worldwide has unanimously adopted the 2050 Imperative, a declaration to eliminate CO2 emissions in the built environment by 2050. Individual architecture, engineering, and planning firms continue to make a commitment to design to carbon neutral standards by 2030, including top international and Chinese architecture and planning firms that have signed the China Accord and are now working to implement it. Over 350 firms have joined the AIA 2030 Commitment.

Ten Green Building Councils worldwide – Canada, Germany, United States, China, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands and Sweden – are now creating zero net carbon building certification pathways. The 2030 Districts Network continues to grow throughout North America, and is poised to go international.

As important, the market has spoken. At the utility scale, flattening electricity demand (due to building efficiency gains) in the U.S. will make the need for new fossil fuel fired power plants unlikely. Photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy production is cheaper and more feasible than ever. Residential and community solar installations and financing mechanisms are increasing dramatically, providing affordable energy and access to homeowners and renters at all income levels.  There are now 300,000 solar jobs in the U.S., a number that has doubled in the last 12 months.

The emergence of new PV products and battery storage is likely to transform the housing market, while LED lighting has already had a huge impact in lowering energy consumption and emissions in the commercial building sector. Wind energy is growing rapidly and is another bright spot in our economy with wind jobs increasing 20% in 2015. We are seeing a similar growth in efficient equipment, appliances, and products, which gives us competitiveness in international markets. U.S. manufacturers of building products throughout the world are reducing their carbon footprint, and have committed to achieving, or are already meeting, the goal of zero carbon.

The potential to implement change and accelerate progress firmly rests with architects, planners, and our colleagues in the building and renewable energy sectors and local governments; that’s as true today as it was before the election.

As Margaret Mead famously stated, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Our ‘small group’ of thoughtful citizens and professionals grows daily, as does our power to achieve our goals.

Now is the time to harness this power and redouble our efforts from the bottom up.

— Architecture 2030

This article also appears on Common Edge.
Image designed by Demetra Mazria.

China: Towards a Zero Carbon Built Environment

n late October, an historic two-day forum and workshop event was held in Wuhan, China. Organized by the China Exploration & Design Association Architecture Branch (CEDAAB) and Architecture 2030, this event established Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) as a necessary and achievable goal for buildings and developments.

2030 Curriculum Project: Pilot Underway

Innovative Courses Selected for 2016-2017 Academic Year

Seven courses have been selected to participate in the pilot phase of the 2030 Curriculum Project, Architecture 2030’s initiative to support university courses 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.’

Over 20 proposals were submitted from 18 US schools in 10 states, from graduate and undergraduate degree programs in architecture, planning, engineering, construction management, and real estate development. “The seven selected courses represent creative and resourceful efforts by individual faculty and program chairs to integrate critical issues of sustainability into core and early design studios, history courses, and other program areas where this material has not been traditionally or adequately addressed,” said Anthony Guida, Program Director at Architecture 2030. Over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year, Architecture 2030 will support participating faculty through course development assistance, software resources, connections to expert practitioners, and the continued development of the 2030 Palette.

Architecture 2030 will also share the details of these inspiring courses and their successful outcomes, so that they can serve as models for transforming the culture of design education in architecture and planning programs nationwide.

Here are details on the seven courses that were selected:

Ball State University, Architecture
Andrea Swartz, Olon Dotson, Michele Chiuini, Joseph Bilello, Enrique Ramirez, Wes Janz, Pamela Harwood, and Kevin Klinger
ARCH 401 Architectural Design, Fall 2016
An undergraduate 4th year comprehensive design studio on zero net energy (ZNE) and socially resilient housing in the post-industrial city, with multiple sections/instructors. Students will design in Fall 2016 and then construct a ZNE single-family residence in Spring 2017. Design instruction incorporates the 2030 Palette and energy modeling in Sefaira. 
Cal Poly Pomona, Architecture
Pablo La Roche
ARC 402 Carbon Neutral Design Studio, Winter 2016
An undergraduate topic studio focused on carbon neutral design. Instruction highlights high-performance design process and integrates Climate Consultant, the 2030 Palette, and multiple tools for energy and daylight modeling.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Architecture
Stacey White (with Margot McDonald)
ARCH 207 Environmental Control Systems I, Fall 2016
A successful early curricular model now in its 5th year, this is an undergraduate 2nd year environmental controls course that is fully integrated with a concurrent design studio (with up to 10 sections/instructors). Course instruction promotes energy modeling early and often, enabling high performance results while accommodating a diversity of design approaches.
University of Southern California, Real Estate Development
Liz Falletta
RED573 Design History and Criticism, Summer 2017
This design studio teaches the value of design and sustainable development to graduate real estate development students. Course instruction integrates the 2030 Palette and Autodesk’s FormIt and Insight360 into design proposals for a mid-rise infill development in urban Los Angeles.
University of Texas at San Antonio, Architecture
Ian Caine and Rahman Azari
ARC 6136 San Antonio 2040: New Housing Models for the Flat City II, Fall 2016
An undergraduate 3rd and 4th year topic studio that aims to develop increased housing density in the suburban condition while designing for all aspects of building performance, including 2030 Challenge goals, net zero carbon and water, as well as other measures. This studio incorporates Climate Consultant, Sefaira, and Athena, and is also participating in the AIA COTE student competition.
University of Washington, Urban Design and Planning
Rachel Berney
URBDP 508A Community Design, Planning, and Development in the Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, Fall 2016
A graduate planning studio on environmental management, sustainable agriculture, and the development of carbon neutral eco-tourism for the Bajo Lempa, El Salvador. The studio will use the 2030 Palette for analysis and produce a custom set of all-new Swatches, which will be part of a book on sustainable development lessons for/from this region.  
Woodbury University, Architecture
Kishani De Silva, Michael Pinto, and Catherine Roussel
Arch 620 Practice 1, Fall 2016
A graduate professional practice course taught through the lens of sustainability and resiliency issues. Weekly guest lecturers and student projects address energy policy, building codes, high-performance building practice, affordable housing, and other critical issues for practitioners in Los Angeles region and State of California.

The pilot phase of the 2030 Curriculum Project was made possible through the generous support of the Allen H. and Selma W. Berkman Charitable Trust.

Architecture School image by Aitor Aguirregabiria used under Creative Commons License

AIA: Help Save the Federal 2030 Challenge Targets

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.

> You can sign on and learn more about the AIA’s advocacy work here. 

Architecture 2030 to Host International Zero Net Carbon Conference in China

Architecture 2030 and CEDAAB are hosting an important international conference on China’s move towards a Zero Net Carbon built environment, Oct 27th in Wuhan, China

On September 3, 2016 China ratified the historic Paris Agreement on climate change and committed to taking a global leadership role in addressing this crisis. President Xi Jinping vowed to “unwaveringly pursue sustainable development” in China and stated “Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the well-being of mankind”.

China is currently urbanizing at a rate unmatched in human history. Over the next few decades, China will build 1.5-2.5 billion sqm new buildings annually as China’s urban population grows by about 350 million people. Today, buildings account for about 30% of China’s greenhouse gas emissions, but this is projected to increase rapidly as more people move into cities to find work.

To meet the commitment of Paris agreement, this conference will establish that Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) building design is essential and achievable for dramatically reducing GHG emissions in the building sector. Top practitioners will present the transformative principles and practices that make ZNC buildings possible.


  • China’s policies and commitment to a low/zero carbon built environment by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development / China Green Building Council
  • The Six Principles for Zero Net Carbon Design by Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030
  • Guidelines, strategies, tools, and resources to support low carbon design by Carl Elefante, AIA President-Elect
  • International and Chinese project case studies in urban planning, residential and community design, and commercial and institutional projects by SOM, ZGF, NBBJ, Perkins+Will, DLR and more
  • Future collaboration and actions

Other speakers include Chen Zhen, Secretary-General of CEDAAB, and Stanley Yip from Peking University’s Center of Urban Planning and Design.


For additional information on forum registration and sponsorship opportunities, please email info_china@architecture2030.org.

You can download the Forum brochure: in English | in Chinese


Ticket price: US$ 270 (1800 RMB). Prices include lunch and dinner.


Register and Pay with Wire Transfer:

From within China, in RMB. Please scan QR code on the right to register on mobile or send your information (company, title, mobile) to info_china@architecture2030.org.
Payment information will be sent to your email after registration


Wuhan image used under Creative Commons License

Design Guidance Feature in Sefaira Powered by the 2030 Palette

Sefaira’s Design Guidance connects real-time analysis with the 2030 Palette’s library of high-performance design strategies.

Architecture 2030 and Sefaira (a Trimble Company) today announced Design Guidance, a new functionality in Sefaira Architecture. Design Guidance uses real-time analysis results in Sefaira Architecture to deliver customized guidance on how to improve a building’s performance, and points the designer to relevant passive design strategies collated in Architecture 2030’s 2030 Palette. Design Guidance was showcased at Greenbuild 2016, taking place this year in Los Angeles.

The 2030 Palette is Architecture 2030’s innovative online resource for the design of low-carbon and adaptable built environments worldwide. This free tool informs the design and planning process at the point of inspiration, presenting the best information and practices through powerful visuals and straightforward language.

“Design tools that enable architects and engineers to make informed decisions on energy use during the critical early phases of design are key to meeting the 2030 Challenge targets, but information to support the analysis tools is just as important.” said Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030.

Sefaira Architecture already integrates the 2030 Challenge benchmarks directly into its real-time energy analysis, and now the integration of the 2030 Palette into Sefaira’s Design Guidance feature connects designers with the most appropriate passive design strategies, based on the energy-use profile of a given design.

Connecting Insight with Action

Since 2012, the Sefaira software for high-performance building design has enabled architects to quickly analyze building performance at the earliest stages of design. “We’re taking our support for Performance-Based Design a step further by providing users with project-specific design guidance,” said Sefaira’s Product Manager Kerger Truesdell. “Let’s say the biggest driver of energy use in your building is cooling, followed by lighting. Design Guidance will surface relevant links to the 2030 Palette identifying passive strategies to reduce cooling load and strategies to reduce lighting loads.”

Following the relevant links provided, users can explore the 2030 Palette’s online library of strategies, called Swatches, and decide which ones they want to test in their concept. The Swatches give users sound passive design principles supported by built precedents and questions to guide the refinement of their design. Not only does Design Guidance enable a project to achieve stronger performance, but it also increases designers’ understanding and mastery of Performance-Based Design solutions.

Available Now

Sefaira’s Design Guidance functionality is now available within Sefaira Architecture and will be demonstrated at Greenbuild in Los Angeles this week.

> Learn More

The New Standard: Zero Carbon

Representatives from ten Green Building Councils (GBCs) worldwide – Canada, Germany, United States, China, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, The Netherlands and Sweden – together with the World Green Building Council (WGBC) and lead partner Architecture 2030, met in New York City last week for a 3-day workshop to define a common approach towards creating net zero certification pathways.

“It’s extremely important that GBCs worldwide align their net zero building certifications with the global emissions reductions goals established by the international community in the climate agreement reached in Paris last December.”

Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

At COP21 in Paris, nearly 200 countries forged an unprecedented agreement to phase out fossil fuel CO2 emissions from the built environment by mid-century.  In a rapidly urbanizing world, plans to meet this commitment must focus on urban development and building design to meet zero emissions performance standards. Adding Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) certifications sends a strong signal to the global marketplace and establishes ZNC as standard practice for all new construction and major renovations by 2030.

Two key long-term goals were agreed at the Advancing Net Zero workshop:

  • All new buildings and major renovations are built to a ZNC standard starting in 2030, and
  • 100% of buildings achieve zero emissions by 2050

The ten national GBCs present at the three-day workshop are taking the lead in meeting these goals as they represent countries with some of the highest projected growth in construction over the next three decades.  Certification pathways developed by this group are also intended to lead the way for other GBCs to follow.



Zero Net Carbon Definition

A priority for the workshop attendees was to establish a shared definition for net zero that would form a basis for their certification pathways. Architecture 2030 led the discussion by putting forward the ZNC definition they developed in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Institute and New Buildings Institute.

A ZNC building is defined as:

a highly energy efficient building that produces on-site, or procures, enough carbon-free renewable energy to meet building operations energy consumption annually.

Positive Outcomes

The GBCs committed to align their ZNC definitions and programs to achieve a common carbon goal, one that will drive significant momentum in shifting industry and regulation towards substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions.

Other fundamental principles agreed by the national GBCs include transparency over how the proposed ZNC pathways are to be used to drive improvement in the building sector. Importantly, all the GBC representatives also championed a level of energy efficiency in their planned certifications, and their initial plans include consideration of a combination of on-site and off-site renewable energy, and in some cases, offsets.

Each participating GBC pledged to adopt a ZNC definition and certification program as soon as possible, with a goal of having those in place by the end of 2017. Each GBC is also committed to developing training materials and educational resources.

The workshop also provided a valuable opportunity for the GBCs to collaborate on approaches and offer each other insight on how to accelerate development of their ZNC programs.

“This commitment lays the foundation by creating common guidelines for each of the parties to follow. The GBCs are leading an important effort towards meeting the Paris Agreement by setting a unique path to successfully address the climate crisis.”

Andrew Lee, Program Manager, Architecture 2030

You can learn more about the workshop in our blog post for the WGBC here.

Flag images from Freepik

Join Ed Mazria at the 2016 Getting to Zero National Forum, October 12-14

Architecture 2030 is proud to support the 2016 Getting to Zero National Forum, held from October 12-14 in Denver. Join us along with leading designers, owners, operators, commercial real estate professionals, policymakers, manufacturers, and others to share perspectives on the growth of zero net energy and high-performance buildings.

The Forum – organized by New Buildings Institute and Rocky Mountain Institute – will also discuss the policies driving new projects, examine best practices for successful outcomes and explore collaboration on opportunities for ZNE to transform the built environment.

Architecture 2030 Founder and CEO Ed Mazria is one of the plenary speakers, and the other program highlights include:

  • Policy sessions to spotlight current rules, incentives and programs that are creating low-energy outcomes and catalyzing projects.
  • Leading cities and states to showcase their action on ZNE to attain carbon mitigation goals.
  • Technical tracks dig in on critical design, construction and operational aspects with added tracks focused on residential and multifamily ZNE buildings as well as grid integration strategies.
  • Business leaders to offer perspectives on the value proposition, cost and financing and share strategize on breaking down the barriers.
  • Interactive sessions will highlight the bright spots and lessons learned.

The preliminary schedule is here,  and you can register here. We look forward to seeing you in Denver!