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AIA Reports Growth in 2030 Commitment Participation

The program notes an increase in firm involvement and the number of projects tracked but is still far from its goal of carbon neutrality.

By Caroline Massie, assistant editor of business, products, and technology at ARCHITECT and Architectural Lighting

The design industry is making major strides in the number of firms reporting performance data on their buildings, according to the AIA’s 2014 progress report on its 2030 Commitment released by the Institute today. The 2030 Commitment is the AIA’s voluntary initiative to encourage the reduction of the carbon footprint of projects to neutral by the year 2030. Last year, 140 firms submitted reports as part of the program—a 41 percent increase over the previous year. Those reports tracked 4,354 projects and 2.4 billion gross square feet, which are up 78 percent and 50 percent from 2013, respectively. The program also registered 197 net-zero energy projects, compared to 73 the previous year.

Although participation is growing, the AIA is still far from its 2030 goals. Since the Institute launched the program in 2009, the targets it has encouraged firms to reach have gradually increased annually and will continue to do so until 2030 when carbon-neutral buildings will become the standard. Last year firms aimed to design projects that consume 60 percent less on-site energy than did baseline-comparable sites. Only 413 projects, or 9 percent of the total number of projects submitted, met that goal, up 3 percent from the previous year.

“This is a significant step in the right direction that showcases the strides being made by the design and construction community to reduce the energy consumption of buildings,” AIA CEO and executive vice president Robert Ivy, FAIA, said in a press release. “But we are still a long way from achieving our ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. We hope that the progress outlined in this report can generate greater urgency to meet or exceed the outlined carbon reduction targets by architects and their clients.”

The AIA is promoting energy modeling as a primary tactic for achieving the 2030 targets. Nearly half of modeled projects met or came close to achieving the 60-percent reduction goals, whereas about 80 percent of non-modeled projects fell below the 40-percent reduction mark.

In May, the AIA and the U.S. Department of Energy released a new online tool to standardize reporting for firms. The 2030 Design Data Exchange is a platform to compile, compare, and submit project data to the 2030 challenge. Additionally, the AIA last month launched an online resource to teach its members about designing high-performance buildings to meet the 2030 targets.

Read the full report here.

This article was originally published in ARCHITECT October 2015

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