Accelerating the Transition to Zero Emissions Architecture.

Architecture 2030 – Accelerating the Transition to a Zero Emissions Future

Architecture 2030 is the catalyst for rapidly transforming the built environment from a major contributor of greenhouse gases to a central solution to the climate crisis. With a robust portfolio of initiatives spanning education, advocacy and small- and large-scale planning, they are advancing a zero emissions future.

Most famously, they created the AIA 2030 Commitment–a program for professional firms to align firm goals and culture with the 2030 Challenge. As of 2019, over 800 firms have signed on, reporting 3.3 billion square feet of projects.

The 2030 Challenge

The 2030 Challenge was conceived by architect Edward Mazri to help transform the design profession’s response to the climate crisis. It calls for all new buildings, developments, and renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. It has been adopted by the American Institute of Architects and 13 of the nation’s top 30 largest architectural/engineering/planning (A/E) firms.

To meet this goal, architects must reduce their building’s site energy use intensity (EUI) by using simple metric of the design and reducing embodied carbon through on-site renewable energy and/or green power purchases. To facilitate this, Architecture 2030 developed the Zero Tool for A/E/P firms and their clients.

The Zero Tool provides a comprehensive comparison of buildings to one another, helps designers set their own EUI targets, and allows A/E/P firms to track proposed energy reductions on projects they are working on. Firms that commit to the 2030 Challenge also have access to a community of peers and mentors. The group also offers a number of educational resources and workshops.

The 2030 Palette

Over the next 15 years an area equal to the entire existing building stock in the Western Hemisphere will be redesigned, reshaped, and rebuilt. How this new construction is planned and designed will determine whether climate change becomes manageable or catastrophic.

The 2030 Palette is an innovative online resource that puts the principles behind Zero Net Carbon and resilient built environments at designers’ fingertips. It presents a set of sustainable planning and design “swatches” that address energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at all scales: from regional and city planning, to the architectural details in individual buildings.

Erin works to solve the climate crisis by catalyzing global building sector decarbonization efforts and connecting them to broader community engagement through clear and compelling graphic design. She has a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Washington and is also an active speaker, representing Architecture 2030 in local and international building sector events. She leads the organization’s embodied carbon research initiatives and assists with education outreach.

The 2030 Districts Network

With fifteen Districts now established and five cities having reached the Emerging District stage, Architecture 2030 has grown into a robust network of high-performance districts that report on building energy use and emissions. The Network continues to develop, promote, and deliver educational resources and services that will help stakeholders reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the built environment.

The Network also works with the Districts to support them in accelerating their path to zero, supporting their efforts to adopt and implement strategies for increasing efficiency and reducing embodied carbon across all types of buildings. This includes promoting the Zero Tool to facilitate the reporting of energy and water data, supporting Districts in their efforts to reduce transportation emissions, and fostering healthy buildings through promoting the benefits of indoor air quality.

Erin Vincent currently serves as a Project Manager and Research Director at Architecture 2030 where she leads the development of the organization’s projects and educational initiatives, including the 2030 Districts Network. Her background in design ensures that Architecture 2030’s mission and project outcomes are clearly represented and communicated worldwide.

The Roadmap to Zero Emissions

Achieving carbon neutrality for the built environment will require significantly reducing embodied emissions from all building materials and processes. To do this, designers must use a more holistic approach that accounts for the entire lifecycle of a building and its modeled energy performance.

To meet this need, Architecture 2030 has developed a new tool called the “2030 Palette.” This online tool identifies high impact building materials and their attributes, provides whole-building embodied carbon reduction strategies, and helps design professionals compare and select low embodied-carbon alternatives.

In addition to its new tools, Architecture 2030 has launched the AIA+2030 Online Series — an educational program that is designed to equip architects and other AEC professionals with the knowledge they need to achieve carbon-neutral buildings. The program is offered free of charge to AIA members. A successful implementation of the 2030 Challenge will help accelerate the pace at which sustainable building standards are adopted and integrated into the practice of AEC firms.

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