Transforming the built environment to combat climate change.

The AIA 2030 Commitment

Buildings, their operations and their materials create 42% of global greenhouse gases. Architecture 2030 aims to beat this by transforming the built environment from its current role as major contributor to climate change into a key part of the solution.

A new, intuitive interface brings the principles of energy-efficient planning and design to your fingertips. Create Swatches and In-Depth Information Pages for easy reference.

The 2030 Challenge

Architecture 2030’s mission is to “rapidly transform the built environment from a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions to a central part of the solution to the climate crisis.” Specifically, they aim to reduce fossil fuel consumption and GHG emissions in buildings through the changing the planning, design, and construction of cities, communities, infrastructure, and buildings. They also pursue the regional development of a built environment that can manage climate change impacts, preserve natural resources, and access low-cost renewable energy.

One of the main ways they’re doing that is by developing a set of targets for low carbon and resilient design – from the regional level down to individual building elements. These are called the 2030 Palette.

Another of their tools is the AIA+2030 Professional Development Series, which gives architects the knowledge they need to work on projects that meet the 2030 goals. Finally, they created the 2030 Commitment to provide a structure for tracking and reporting progress.

The 2030 Palette

The 2030 Palette is an internationally focused free interactive tool to empower architects, planners and designers with a framework for world-wide development of buildings that consume 50-80% less fossil fuel energy than their existing counterparts, complement and preserve sensitive ecosystems and access site renewable energy resources. The 2030 Palette is a catalyst for achieving The 2030 Challenge and transforming the built environment from a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions into a central solution for climate change.

The online platform offers “swatches,” or strategies, that address a range of building types and climate zones. The swatches include recommendations on how to reduce embodied carbon through material efficiency, reusing existing buildings (which has significantly lower embodied carbon than new construction), designing walkable communities, passive design approaches for shading, reflected daylighting and solar glazing and more.

The swatches also provide guidance on how to mitigate energy consumption through building envelope optimization using FenestraPro, which can calculate the resulting end-to-end energy use and carbon emissions based upon specific site and energy-related characteristics.

The 2030 Districts

After five years of growth with oversight from Architecture 2030, the fifteen established Districts have now developed their own non-profit. Together the Districts represent over 300 million square feet of buildings.

The Districts are grassroots efforts to implement strategies that reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while stimulating the creation of resilient communities. They address climate change through a comprehensive suite of initiatives including educational resources, advocacy, and the formation of 2030 Districts Network.

The Network provides the framework for collaboration between local private and public stakeholders. Through the Network, the Districts can exchange best practices, leverage the purchasing power of their members to secure reduced costs and influence national policy on building water and energy efficiency. Each District has its own distinct approach – Seattle’s works with city officials to develop greener economic incentives, Cleveland runs a green design competition, and Ithaca promotes more aggressive building regulations. All of these efforts work together to reduce energy consumption, improve indoor air quality and reduce transport emissions.

The 2030 Commitment

The built environment contributes 40% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, and the AIA 2030 Commitment offers architects a way to publicly show their dedication to a carbon-free future and encourage others to join them. The program outlines real and attainable targets for the building sector to curb climate change, and it requires firms participating in the Commitment to establish energy efficiency as an essential tenet of their design philosophy.

This year, ZED’s predicted energy use intensity (pEUI) savings in its design portfolio reached a record-setting 92.6%, surpassing the goal of 70% reduction set by the 2030 Challenge for Energy-Efficient Planning and Design. The latest AIA 2030 Commitment Summary also indicates that many design firms are starting to incorporate lifecycle analysis into their process in order to understand embodied carbon impacts and plan for low operational carbon as well.

Additionally, Seattle’s District has been working with city officials to develop environmental incentives, Cleveland has been holding green building competitions, and Ithaca is implementing greener building regulations. This groundwork is crucial, as it enables the performance goals of each firm to improve over time and ultimately help reach the 2030 Challenge’s carbon-neutral goals.

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