The AIA and Sustainability
- The common assumption is that pollution from cars and factories is the leading cause of global warming, but the true sleeping giant is the built environment.
- Buildings account for nearly half (48 percent) of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is far more than transportation (27 percent) and industry (25 percent).
- Buildings also account for 76 percent of all electricity generated at power plants.
- It is estimated that by 2035 a surprising 75 percent of all buildings will either be rebuilt or undergo massive renovations. This is both a tremendous opportunity to employ green (eco-friendly) design principles on a wide scale and a dangerous proposition if such principles are NOT made a priority.
- Buildings have a life span of 50-100 years, and, if current trends continue, annual energy consumption will increase 37 percent, while greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 36 percent over the next 20 years.
The AIA takes its commitment to sustainability and creating livable communities seriously. In December 2005, the AIA Board of Directors passed a Sustainable Practice Position Statement that sets incremental goals for energy reduction in the built environment, starting with a 50 percent reduction by the year 2010. In June of 2006, the United States Conference of Mayors unanimously endorsed Resolution #50, which closely mirrors the AIA's reduction goals regarding energy in the built environment. The AIA has developed a toolkit for mayors that helps them begin to take action on this issue in their communities.
The design of more energy-efficient buildings is a crucial step in addressing dangerous global warming, and, through this initiative, eco-friendly design will become the norm rather than the exception.