AIA Calls for Changes to the Built Environment to Support Climate Action Goals

In testimony before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, the American Institute of Architect’s 2018 President Carl Elefante, FAIA, outlined steps the U.S. must prioritize in order to reduce greenhouse gases in the built environment.

“The threat posed by climate change to our homes, cities, nation, and the planet require that we fundamentally reexamine how we develop and adapt the built world,” says Elefante. “We know that new standards of design and construction can be utilized to combat climate change. Success on these initiatives will mean a holistic approach and long-term commitment from every aspect of our society to incorporate these principles into the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the nation’s buildings.”

Buildings represent 39 percent of the nation’s primary energy use and 39 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reduce the impact of buildings on our environment and meet the 2050 net-zero emission target, Elefante said the U.S. will need to renovate and retrofit 75 percent of the existing building stock, which amounts to 54 billion square feet.

Elefante testified on behalf of the AIA based on his background and expertise in sustainable and resilient design strategies and understanding of needed improvements to U.S. building codes to achieve climate goals in the built environment.

AIA launched a landmark initiative to drive climate action among the architecture profession. As part of this effort, AIA is calling on architects around the world to support humanity’s collective call to climate action through an unrelenting commitment to sustainable and resilient design. The Institute redoubled its efforts on climate change in a statement, Where We Stand: Climate Action, detailing its initial path forward to support architects in making progress towards achieving net-zero emissions in the built environment by 2050.

Complete details of the hearing as well as video of the testimony can be obtained on the U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce’s website. More information on AIA programs and efforts on climate action can be found on AIA.org.

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