Today, the AIA released a statement advocating for businesses and building owners to be eligible for cap-and-trade programs, which financially compensate large corporations and utilities companies that reduce pollutant emissions.

Read the full release below:

Ahead of attending the Global Climate Action Summit later this week, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is joining the CO2toEE coalition today in its call to make businesses and building owners eligible for reductions in carbon emissions that result from their investments in energy efficiency.

"Allowing building owners to participate in cap-and-trade programs will drive much deeper reductions in carbon emissions from buildings, and in turn encourage architects and building owners to develop and adopt more energy efficient designs and practices,” said 2018 AIA president Carl Elefante, FAIA.

A cap-and-trade system puts a limit on the amount of pollution large corporations and utilities discharge. Under such a system, utilities and corporations are incentivized to buy and sell rights that allow the release of harmful gases into the air, meaning that a company or utility that reduces its pollution is financially rewarded.

Today, building owners who invest in energy efficiency achieve three valuable objectives: cutting energy consumption, reducing costs and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Under existing cap-and-trade rules, investors in energy efficient buildings receive the financial value of only one of these benefits—lowered energy costs. The CO2toEE initiative aims to ensure that building owners receive the benefits of achieving both goals.

“This change makes the carbon market more efficient by assigning the value of carbon reductions where it belongs—to the people who actually make them,” said Angela Brooks, FAIA, managing principal at Brooks + Scarpa and 2018 chair of the Institute’s Committee on the Environment. “With the adoption of CO2toEE, the cap-and-trade market can be harnessed to reward energy efficiency investors with the value of the [carbon dioxide] reductions they create.”

More information on the AIA’s commitment to combating climate change and can be found online.