AIA Launches Initiative to Take Climate Action


Late last week, the American Institute of Architects’ Board of Directors approved what it calls a “landmark resolution” that “defines immediate and long-term efforts to engage the architectural profession in the fight against climate change.”

The resolution was first introduced by architect Betsy del Monte, FAIA, and 50 members of the organization’s 2019 conference.

“This is a defining moment for the Institute,” said 2019 AIA President William Bates, FAIA.

“We are making this our top priority in order to address the crisis our communities face. Moving the needle on this critical issue—that threatens the future of our planet and humanity—requires our firm commitment to achieving carbon neutral goals in the built environment and our immediate action. It’s imperative that the industry acts today.” 

With this resolution, the AIA says it’s going to “rally the profession to do more to fight climate change” by building on initiatives such as its COTE Top Ten Framework and its 2030 Commitment.

AIA says it is going to establish goals to support mitigation and adaptation using the tenets of the COTE Top Ten plan, the tool kit for which was released in January.

“The intent is to keep this resource current and to add to it over time,” the AIA said at the time. “Ultimately, this feedback loop informs refinements to the fundamental measures themselves. Your feedback is incredibly helpful for continuously improving the resource.”

The Top 10 is divided into categories that include:

  • Design for Integration – Looks at the idea behind the project, how sustainability informs the design concept;
  • Design for Community – Looks at how community members inside and outside the building benefit from the project;
  • Design for Ecology – Looks at the larger ecosystem within which the project is located;
  • Design for Water – Looks at how the project uses water and rainfall;
  • Design for Economy – Looks at cost-effectiveness and economic performance;
  • Design for Energy – Looks at energy from renewable sources and carbon impact;
  • Design for Wellness – Looks at how the design supports the comfort and health of the people who inhabit or visit the building;
  • Design for Resources – Looks at the selection of materials and products used in the project;
  • Design for Change – Looks at how the project can be adapted for other uses; and
  • Design for Discovery – Looks at post-occupancy evaluation and performance expectations.

The AIA says it will also continue to encourage participation in its 2030 Commitment, and will work to develop new programs and resources.

“The resolution calls for revisions to AIA public policies and position statements,” the organization said, “and advocates that the Institute engage its full membership, clients, lawmakers and communities in a multi-year education, practice and advocacy strategy.”


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Good Technical Practice; Green building; NA; North America; Sustainability

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