AIA's Large Firm Round Table (LFRT) has published new guidelines for member firms calling for a significant commitment by practices to respond to climate change in the built environment. Titled, "Countdown on Carbon," the mandate applies to all 60 member firms, which employ more than 245,000 people worldwide.

"This landmark initiative defines immediate and long-term obligations of the architectural profession to stand against climate change," LFRT wrote in a policy document. "The next few years will result in a paradigm shift of our industry, practice, and responsibility as we respond to climate change."

Presented at the CarbonPositive’20 conference, hosted by a partnership between ARCHITECT and nonprofit Architecture 2030 in March, the mandate calls on members of the LFRT to become signatories of the AIA 2030 Commitment and report firm benchmarks; to account for climate change action in strategic planning; to advocate for building reuse; to include embodied carbon as a key factor when selecting materials; and to support carbon education within firms, academia, and professional networks.

In an effort to assist members in achieving these goals, the LFRT also outlined industry best practices to consider such as reducing cement use, avoiding XPS foam insulation, and designing with mass timber.

While the LFRT had initially planned to vote on requiring members to sign the 2030 Commitment this spring, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the meeting. However, leaders will discuss the mandate at a virtual meeting of CEOs in May.

This article has been updated since its original publication.