Earlier this month, at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas, the architecture and building community made history when they overwhelmingly voted for the AIA Resolution for Urgent and Sustained Climate Action: 4,860 yes to 312 no.

The resolution (which appears in full below) calls for its 94,000 members worldwide to “exponentially accelerate the decarbonization of buildings, the building sector, and the built environment.”

Make no mistake, we know that when the building community decides to act, change happens!

In 2005, the 2030 Challenge set in motion the development of programs, code improvements and other actions by AIA, firms, cities, states, and other organizations that leveled off rising CO2 emissions in the building sector, even though the U.S. continued to add about 3 to 4 billion square feet to its building stock every year.

Architecture 2030, with AIA, AIA Large Firms Roundtable, cities, states, firms and collaborative organizations, is engaged in delivering the actions necessary for a carbon positive future by 2050, addressing both building operations and the embodied carbon of buildings, infrastructure, materials, and construction. This work includes (to name a few):

  • ZERO Code – national and international building energy standard for new building construction resulting in Zero-Net-Carbon buildings (created by Architecture 2030 and Charles Eley).
  • ZERO Code Appendix – proposal for inclusion in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The proposal was approved by the IECC Commercial Committee and will go to the ICC membership in November for a vote (submitted by AIA and Architecture 2030).
  • CarbonPositive’19 SUMMIT – convening of leading A/E/C firms, responsible for approximately $2 trillion in construction annually, to develop the targets, strategies and actions necessary for accelerating the transition to carbon positive infrastructure, buildings and materials (hosted by Architecture 2030 and ARCHITECT, with the AIA Large Firms Roundtable).
  • CarbonPositive’20 International Conference & Expo – major international conference presenting leading-edge knowledge and breakthrough technologies, strategies, planning and design tools to make carbon positive built environments a reality today. Save the date: March 2-4, 2020 at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown, more to come soon (hosted by Architecture 2030 and ARCHITECT).

Specific actions you can take today include:

  • Sign your firm to the 2030 Commitment.
  • Design building projects to the ZERO Code standard (Zero-Net-Carbon).
  • Work with local AIA chapters to support adoption of the ZERO Code by states and local jurisdictions.
  • Work with international AIA Chapters and sister organizations to support adoption of the ZERO Code by cities and national governments worldwide.
  • Contact eligible ICC voting members (e.g. local code officials) to vote for inclusion of the ZERO Code Appendix “as submitted” in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code.*
  • Advocate for building sector decarbonization policies with your local governments (more on the Achieving Zero Framework in an upcoming Architecture 2030 ENews Bulletin).

Urgent and sustained action is needed today to successfully address climate change. Together we will make that happen!

*   Note: It is important that the “as submitted” ZERO Code Appendix (no amendments) goes to a final vote where only a simple majority (50%+) is required for inclusion into the 2021 IECC (whereas the ZERO Code Appendix with amendments will require a very difficult 66%+ vote for approval). We suggest that comments or recommendations be sent directly to Architecture 2030 where we can include them on the ZERO Code website, since adjustments can be made to the ZERO Code by adopting jurisdictions.

The text above originally appeared on the Architecture 2030 website.

The AIA Resolution

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that commencing in 2019 and continuing until zero-net-carbon practice is the accepted standard of its members, the AIA prioritized and support urgent climate action as a health, safety, and welfare issue, to exponentially accelerate the “decarbonization” of buildings, the building sector, and the built environment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AIA engage its full membership; the clients and communities members serve; federal, state and local policy makers and governing bodies; other professional organizations and affiliates, and the public on climate action through a multi-year strategy for education, practice, advocacy, and outreach.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that following the example of the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice, the AIA prepare Guidelines for Ethical practice on Climate Action to delineate practices for complying with Canon VI, Obligations to the Environment in the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AIA revise its Public Policies and Position Statements to support urgent climate action.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the AIA adopt and implement the recommendations of the Blue-Ribbon Panel on Codes and Standards and the Sustainability Leadership Group.