Andrea Love, AIA, is the director of building science at Boston-based Payette and chair of the AIA 2030 Working Group. Her work is grounded in the philosophy that architecture is both an art and a science, and she combines her design vision with a mission to push the performance of buildings and minimize their impact on the environment. Often she integrates performance-modeling tools into Payette’s design process to inform and push the limit of designs.
The 2030 Commitment is about changing the whole practice. The way I like to think about it is how it differs from certification programs, which are about rewarding and highlighting projects. The 2030 Commitment is about changing our entire portfolio. It’s about looking at everything we have designed and touched as architects, as well as the environmental impact we’ve had. In essence, it’s about nothing short of improving the performance of our practices and firms.
Last year, we stepped up the target to a 70 percent reduction. This year will be the first year that people are reporting on that 70 percent reduction target goal—if they met that goal and, if not, how close they got. It’s pretty rare for a firm to reach 70 percent reduction, but we have to start somewhere. Maybe we get there by 2035, or 2040, but we’re never going to get there if we don’t start tracking and understanding our buildings’ performance.
At Payette, the 2030 Commitment has made a huge impact on the energy literacy of our staff, becoming part of our company lexicon. I can go to any one of the partners now and ask them what the EUI [energy use intensity] of the project is. They may not know the answer off the top of their heads, but they know where to get it—and they know whether it’s a good number or bad number. What we’re going to do over the next five to 10 years is continue to build that literacy—or what I like to call “energy intuition.”
The last two years, [the 2030 Working Group] really focused on getting the Design Data Exchange [DDx] reporting tool up online and working so that it could become part of the design process, instead of a reporting exercise that you do at the end of the year. This year, we’re focusing on creating resources and processes that will make it easier for firms to participate. We have a number of firms that have signed the 2030 Commitment, but haven’t reported. Only a third of those that have signed have reported each year. We’re also looking to create a mentorship program that functions as a peer-to-peer network for case studies on how firms are meeting the 2030 Commitment, success stories, and opportunities to improve.—As told to Caitlin Reagan