Take Part in a Climate Ride to Support Our Work

Architecture 2030 has become an official beneficiary of Climate Ride – a fellow nonprofit that organizes charitable events to raise awareness and support sustainability, active transportation, and environmental causes.

ClimateRide_chainring_blackYou can now choose to support our work (and have a great time!) by participating in any of the Climate Rides or Climate Hikes organized throughout the year.

There are fully supported bicycle rides and hikes in several parts of the US and overseas, including California, New York City to Washington DC, and Saigon to Angkor Wat. Alternatively, you can plan your own adventure and receive Climate Ride’s help in fundraising.

Architects David Arkin and Anni Tilt from Arkin Tilt are about to take part in the Pacific Northwest ride with Architecture 2030 as a beneficiary, and we’d welcome other supporters of Architecture 2030 to follow their lead!

“Taking part in a Climate Ride event is a great way to support Architecture 2030 while also enjoying a memorable experience,” said Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030.

Registration for Climate Ride events is $100 (which includes a cycling jersey or hiking shirt), with each participant committing to raising at least $2800 to take part. All the rides and hikes are fully supported by a team of experienced leaders, and people who have participated in a Climate Ride event rave about the tours.

You can find out more about Climate Ride by visiting www.climateride.org.

Zero Net Carbon (ZNC): A Definition

ZNC sets a clear direction for both new and existing buildings towards a zero-carbon built environment.

The world reached a monumental consensus in December 2015 under the Paris Agreement – to limit global average temperature increase to “well below 2°C and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

The built environment is responsible for the majority of global CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change. Zero Net Carbon (ZNC) buildings address an urgent need to mitigate the CO2 impacts of fossil fuel based energy consumption.

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.

In a ZNC building, carbon-based energy consumption is reduced first through building design strategies and efficiency measures, then through on-site renewable energy generation, and finally through procurement of locally produced off-site renewable energy.

By establishing a net zero balance of carbon-free energy consumption, this ZNC definition can apply to all new and existing building types including those with limited on-site renewable energy capacity, such as buildings in dense urban environments.

By providing this broad platform for carbon emissions reduction, the ZNC definition is expected to play a significant role in guiding building design, development, and operations for professional organizations and policymakers.

“With the staggering amount of building and rebuilding that will take place worldwide over the next two decades, and the need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, it is critical that we support a clear definition and approach for designing and operating zero net carbon (ZNC) buildings.”

– Edward Mazria, Founder and CEO, Architecture 2030

For more information about Zero Net Carbon Buildings, read the ZNC definition white paper issued by Architecture 2030, New Buildings Institute, and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Advancing Net Zero Worldwide

Green Building Councils Worldwide to Develop Net Zero Certifications

Architecture 2030 joins WorldGBC as the lead partner in a new project – Advancing Net Zero – to deliver “net zero” building energy or greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) certification pathways across Green Building Councils (GBCs) worldwide. At least eight GBCs will initially take part in the project, including: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Netherlands, South Africa, and Sweden, with additional GBCs to follow.

In his keynote at COP21 Buildings Day, Ed Mazria called for GBCs worldwide to commit to develop net zero certification as a critical catalyst for transitioning the building sector towards zero net emissions.

The WorldGBC and its 74 Green Building Councils (representing 27,000 member companies) responded with a bold commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from the building sector by 84 gigatons by 2050, through net zero buildings and deep renovation.

Under this new project, WorldGBC and Architecture 2030 will work directly with participating GBCs to transform these commitments into actions. GBCs will be guided through the adoption of common definitions for net zero and the development of action plans to accelerate the launch of national net zero certification programs (as stand-alone programs or extension of existing rating systems). In addition, each participating GBC will create net zero training programs for their building professional community and support the development of net zero demonstration projects for each market.

This collaboration marks a critical inception point that will align disparate efforts across the industry and set the stage for global adoption of net zero standards.

The term “net zero” refers to buildings, which are either net zero energy or net zero emissions, reflecting a balance of energy efficiency with clean energy resources on an annual basis. Researchers estimate that there are currently hundreds of net zero commercial buildings and thousands of net zero homes around the world. The Advancing Net Zero project is aimed at tipping the global market to rapidly adopt net zero and establish it as standard practice for all new construction by 2030.

For more information about the project, read the WorldGBC announcement here.


Photo by Maria Eklind Creative Commons Licensed

Section 433 Under Attack, Again

States, cities, businesses, and industries, all with the help of the building sector, have made great progress on the road to zero greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 has played a major role.

Section 433 puts the weight of the federal government behind the movement to a carbon neutral built environment, by requiring all new federal buildings, and major federal building renovations, to meet the incremental targets of the 2030 Challenge.

However, recent energy legislation passed by both chambers of Congress calls for the elimination of Section 433, threatening this long-standing and important commitment from the federal government.

This is not the first attempt to repeal Section 433, and this time the proposed legislation replaces Section 433 with weaker efficiency standards that fail to address carbon emissions from federal buildings. Section 433 goes beyond energy efficiency gains in new and renovated federal buildings, by establishing a long-term roadmap for continued improvements in building design, construction, and building operations, and cost savings to taxpayers for the life of federal buildings.

What’s more, since 2005, the building sector has dramatically reduced its projected energy consumption to 2030, saving American consumers over $4.5 trillion.  Since the federal government is the largest property owner and energy consumer in the United States, Section 433 leverages the government’s massive purchasing power and influence to bring new technologies and materials to the marketplace, for the benefit of everyone.

“The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its membership have fought long and hard to reduce fossil fuel use in the building sector, and they’ve had great success. The organization has taken a bold step in opposing all attempts to repeal or weaken Section 433.” Edward Mazria, CEO, Architecture 2030

You can read the AIA’s latest thoughts here.

Senate and House Energy Bills

It is important to note that while both the Senate and the House bills shortsightedly call for a repeal of Section 433, the Senate bill’s language on building energy codes is more effective than the House bill’s language.  The Senate bill’s code language describes a life-cycle cost effectiveness assessment, while the House bill limits the cost effectiveness of the code provisions to a 10-year simple payback.

Additionally, the House bill – known as H.R. 8 –  includes code language that prohibits the Department of Energy (DOE) from being able to advocate for code adoption and progressive code development. A statement from the President’s Office Of Management and Budget makes the administration’s views clear:

“H.R. 8 would stifle the Nation’s move toward energy efficiency by severely hampering the Department of Energy’s (DOE) ability to provide technical support for building code development and State implementation. In addition, the bill would undercut DOE’s ability to enforce its appliance standards and would weaken section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires a reduction in fossil fuel generated energy in Federal buildings.”

The next step is for Congress to reconcile the two energy bills passed by the House and the Senate. Members of Congress will meet in a conference to negotiate the final text of the legislation before it is sent to the President.

This gives you opportunity to contact your Congressional members and express your concerns.

The following Representatives have already been appointed to take part in the conference (the Senators have not yet been announced):

House Republicans (24): Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.), Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (Utah), Science Chairman Lamar Smith (Texas), Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas), and Reps. Joe Barton (Texas), Ed Whitfield (Ky.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Bob Latta (Ohio), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Pete Olson (Texas), David McKinley (W.Va.), Mike Pompeo (Kan.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Bill Flores (Texas), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Don Young (Alaska), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Bruce Westerman (Ark.), Randy Weber (Texas), Glenn Thompson (Pa.), Cresent Hardy (Nev.) and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.).

House Democrats (16): Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone (N.J.), Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson (Minn.), Science ranking member Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Transportation ranking member Peter DeFazio (Ore.), and Reps. Bobby Rush (Ill.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Doris Matsui (Calif.), Kathy Castor (Fla.), Dave Loebsack (Iowa), John Sarbanes (Md.), Peter Welch (Vt.), Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), Paul Tonko (N.Y.), Jared Huffman (Calif.) and Debbie Dingell (Mich.).

Please consider contacting them, especially if you are their constituents. Alternatively, contact your own senator or representative to let them know your concerns.

Urban Land Institute’s Asia Pacific Summit: June 15-17

Architecture 2030 is delighted to be one of the supporting organizations for the Urban Land Institute’s Asia Pacific Summit, which takes place in Shanghai, China from June 15th – 17th.

Urban-Land-Institute_greySeveral of the sessions in the program focus on sustainability and resilience, and the speakers are a diverse and engaging range of experts from Asia and around the world.

The ULI Asia Pacific Summit brings together over 500 decision makers from across the real estate industry, including institutional investors, funders, developers, advisers, planners, architects and city leaders.

The summit – called Navigating the New Normal – provides a great opportunity for real estate and land use professionals from across the region to share ideas and exchange best practices.

> More information here 

Announcing the 2030 Curriculum Project – Application Deadline Extended

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 has been extended to August 15, 2016

> To apply, download the 2030 Curriculum Project RFP

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


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


Photo by mroczknj, Flickr

Our Guide to Events at the AIA National Convention 2016

Who’s going to the AIA National Convention 2016 in Philadelphia?  If you’re heading to the City of Brotherly Love, we’ve compiled this guide to 2030 Challenge-related events that you can add to your list:

Wednesday, May 18th

The Advanced Energy Design Guides: An Architectural Resource
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Energy Modeling for All: 2030 Commitment for Small Firms! 
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Thursday, May 14th

COTE Top Ten: Performing Beautifully . . . . a Restorative Future
3:30 PM to 4:30 PM

2016 COTE Top Ten Awards Reception
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Friday, May 20th

The Business Case for a Zero Energy Building
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

Small Firms Achieving Zero Net Energy through Creative Residential Design
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

2030 Commitment Open Forum
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

An Architect’s Guide to Early Phase Performance and Energy Modeling
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM


Saturday, May 21st

Lessons from the Leading Edge: COTE Top Ten Research Project
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM

Building Energy Literacy: The 2030 Commitment’s Transformation of Firm Culture
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM


— Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur, Wikimedia Commons

2030 Districts Expanding as San Antonio and Grand Rapids Launch

Two new cities, San Antonio and Grand Rapids, recently joined the 2030 Districts movement, bringing to twelve the number of 2030 Districts across North America.

2030 Districts Network Launches Marketplace to Give Members Special Pricing on Energy-Efficiency Products

The 2030 Districts Network has established the 2030 Districts Marketplace to provide 2030 District Members and Partners with special pricing on products to help them meet their efficiency goals. The 2030 Districts Marketplace can be found at: http://2030districts.org/marketplace.

Overseen by Architecture 2030, twelve private-sector led 2030 Districts have been established in cities across North America as a grassroots effort 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 vehicle emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in its 2030 Challenge for Planning.

Currently, 2030 Districts boast 266 million square feet of property and 1179 properties, and the 2030 Districts Network saw an opportunity to help its property owners, managers, and developers streamline the technology procurement process when they are purchasing products that will improve the energy efficiency of their buildings. The first set of products available in the marketplace include HVAC controls, advanced metering, LED lighting, windows and window film, and electric vehicle chargers.

‘We’re using the power of group purchasing to offer 2030 Districts Members below-market prices on technology and equipment they can use to help in efficiency retrofit projects,” said Ed Mazria, Founder and CEO of Architecture 2030.

Technologies and suppliers were selected through a competitive application process to vet reliability, effectiveness, and pricing, and the benefits to purchasers (in addition to saving money) include saving time and the option to get multiple bids with one inquiry for certain types of products. 

Suppliers and manufacturers selected at launch are:

  • Aquicore (advanced metering)
  • Bes-Tech (HVAC controls)
  • Energy Innovation Group (LED lighting)
  • Sage Glass (dynamic glass)
  • Campbell Window Film
  • SemaConnect (electric vehicle chargers)

“We’re looking forward to building up the Marketplace over time,” said Vince Martinez, interim Director of the 2030 Districts Network. “Adding new products from new approved suppliers will create more options for our members, and help them meet their energy reduction targets in an affordable way.”

Architecture 2030 is leading this program with funding from the US Department of Energy.

Paris to World: an End to the Fossil Fuel Era

Last week, the world came together in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and signed a historic agreement.  At the heart of the Paris Agreement is the “long-term goal” committing almost 200 countries – including the U.S., China, India, and the EU nations – to keep the global average temperature increase to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.”

To meet this target, the world must reach zero fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the urban built environment by about 2050, and zero total global greenhouse gas emissions by 2060 to 2080.

What’s in the Agreement

The agreement commits all countries to “aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible . . . and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter”. It includes 188 national government submissions – Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – containing the actions each country intends to take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

These initial INDCs admittedly do not go far enough to meet the 1.5°C target, but each country is required to renew its pledge with increasingly stringent targets every five years. The current U.S. INDC pledge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

But most importantly, the impact of the agreement is clear – governments have signaled an end to the fossil fuel era by committing for the first time to cut GHG emissions and avoid the most egregious impacts of climate change.

The Agreement and the Built Environment

Another historic event at COP21 was the first ever UNFCCC Buildings Day – an entire day devoted to the building sector in recognition of the important role it must play in ensuring that countries meet their emissions reduction obligations.


Ed Mazria presenting the China Accord at the UNFCCC COP21 Buildings Day

Architecture 2030 helped organize Buildings Day, and Ed Mazria, Architecture 2030 Founder and CEO, delivered the opening presentation titled “Road to Zero”, which successfully set the tone for the remainder of the day. Referencing Architecture 2030’s submission to the UNFCCC – the Roadmap to Zero Emissions: The Built Environment in a Global Transformation to Zero Emissions report – he demonstrated how a combination of reducing the built environment’s demand for fossil fuel energy while increasing the world’s supply of renewable energy sources will meet the Paris Agreement’s long-term 1.5°C goal.

In addition, Mazria presented the China Accord for the first time to the UNFCCC and the international audience in attendance, illustrating how the architecture, planning, and building design community in China will play a key role in making the agreement’s targets a reality.

Chen Zhen, Secretary General of CEDAAB (left) and Leon Qiu, Vice Secretary General of CEDAAB and Principal at DLR Group

Chen Zhen, Secretary General of CEDAAB (left) and Leon Qiu, Vice Secretary General of CEDAAB and Principal at DLR Group

The Accord is a commitment by 52 key Chinese and international architecture and planning firms to plan and design cities, towns, developments, and buildings in China to low carbon/carbon neutral standards.  

Chen Zhen, Secretary General of the China Exploration & Design Association – Architecture Branch (CEDAAB), also delivered a speech at the opening of Buildings Day on the importance of international collaboration and China’s commitment to low carbon development. According to Zhen,

“The China Accord is a manifestation of the determination and moral obligations of planners and architects both in China and internationally, that we are taking huge strides to reduce carbon emissions and move towards zero carbon.”

At COP21, bold actions such as the China Accord underlined the importance of cities and the built environment in combatting climate change, giving nations the confidence to take dramatic steps in Paris.

Cities consume nearly 75% of global energy production and are responsible for a similar percentage of global GHG emission. Tokyo, for example, is responsible for the same amount of GHG emissions as the 37 least polluting African countries. 

Architecture 2030's representatives at COP21: Panama Bartholomy, EU Lead, and Yaki Wo, Asia Lead

Architecture 2030’s representatives at COP21: Panama Bartholomy, EU Lead, and Yaki Wo,
Asia Lead

COP21 is also the first time that cities have had their voices fully recognized at a global UN conference on climate change, and the first time over 1,000 city and regional officials gathered to demand bold action.

436 cities have signed the Compact of Mayors pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and track their progress.

These include 117 U.S. cities, with total average U.S. city pledges at 68% GHG emissions reductions below their current levels by 2050.

In addition to the China Accord and the local government pledges, many other initiatives were announced during COP21, including:

  • 123 jurisdictions (states, provinces, regions, and cities) collectively representing more than 720 million people and $19.9 trillion in combined GDP, equivalent to more than a quarter of the global economy, joined the Under 2 MOU agreement, pledging to limit emissions to 80% to 95% below 1990 levels, or below 2 metric tons per capita, by 2050.
  • Over 100 banks, managing a total of $4 trillion in assets, called for a doubling of building energy efficiency by 2030.
  • Over 150 US companies committed to reduce energy use in their facilities by 50%.
  • The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, a global private-public alliance was established to foster closer collaboration and new partnerships in the buildings sector.
  • The World Green Building Council (WGBC) announced that GBCs in Canada, Australia, and South Africa are developing Carbon Neutral building certifications, signaling that this is where the market is headed. The WGBC and Architecture 2030 are planning to collaborate to help develop the certification and then to expand it into other global markets.

2016 and Beyond

The Paris Agreement introduces a new world, one that envisions an end to fossil fuel emissions and secures a strong mechanism to address climate change.

As Architecture 2030’s senior consultant Farhana Yamin (also CEO of Track 0 and advisor to the Marshall Islands) put it:

“There is a huge way to go, but there are already people out there working on envisioning what a Zero by 2050 world looks like.”

So open your champagne bottles, and toast the promise of not just another New Year, but also a new era of international collaboration in creating a sustainable, resilient, and highly livable planet.