Not long ago, I spoke with Kirsten Ritchie, principal of Gensler—a global integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm—about the role architects and designers can play in combating climate change. She views it this way: “If we specify products with reduced carbon footprints, select locally sourced materials that don’t require much energy to transport, use resilient materials with longer lifespans, and consider each product’s life beyond its present use, then we significantly lessen the environmental impact of the places we design before occupancy even begins.”
Our conversation put me in mind of the 2030 Challenge, which was introduced in 2006 by Architecture 2030, a non-profit organization established in response to the climate crisis. The 2030 Challenge invites the global architecture and building community to plan, design, and build for a carbon-neutral future. The idea is to “transform the practice of architecture to respond to the climate crisis in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based, and data-driven.”
The 2030 Challenge proposes the following targets:
- All new buildings, developments, and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil-fuel, greenhouse-gas-emitting, energy-consumption performance standard of 70% below the regional (or country) median for that building type.
- At minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil-fuel, greenhouse gas-emitting, energy-consumption performance standard of 70% of the regional (or country) median for that building type.
- The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to 80% in 2020, 90% in 2025, and carbon-neutral in 2030.
Tracking energy metrics is the most important step toward achieving these goals. Participating firms report to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) on the predicted performance of all projects in their portfolio as well as their own building’s energy consumption.
I was curious to know how many residential design firms are participating. Though…