A commitment towards fighting climate change and curbing the carbon emission released by buildings, the American Institute of Architects has laid some detailed and important guidelines to support this essential mission.  

The AIA 2030 Commitment has been derived to support the ‘The 2030 Challenge’.   

What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet1
AIA + 2030 Challenge © GWWO Architects

The 2030 Challenge:   

Architecture 2030 is a non-profit organization established in 2002, to rapidly transform new buildings, developments, and renovations to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.   

Why is that so important? The urban built environment releases 75% of the annual global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, out of which buildings alone account for 39%. These statistics are alarming and thus eliminating these emissions is pivotal to fight climate change.   

What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet2
Statistics © Amenta Emma
What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet3
The aim © The Green Engineer

What are the key factors?  

To achieve this necessary goal, Architecture 2030 has generated the following standards urging the global architecture and building community to adopt them:  

  • Based on a region or country, all new developments, and building constructions should be designed to meet the fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, and energy consumption performance standard of 70% below the building typology.   
  • Not focusing entirely on new constructions, annual renovations of existing buildings should meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, and energy consumption performance standard of 70% based on the country and building type.   
  • The reduction of fossil-fuel standard for new constructions as well as major renovations should be increased as follows:  
    • 80% in 2020  
    • 90% in 2025  
    • Carbon-neutral by 2030   
What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet4
New construction of buildings and major renovations © 2030 Districts Network
What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet5
Existing buildings © 2030 Districts Network

How can the above goals be achieved?  

Sustainability. Renewable energy. Passive sources of energy.   

These targets are achievable by using innovative sustainable techniques and materials, generating renewable sources of energy on the site, and implementing passive sources of energy in the design development of a building. Also purchasing 20% off-site renewable energy, the maximum is an important factor. 

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Sustainability is the key © AIA Contracts

The AIA 2030 Commitment 

To support the intelligent and essential 2030 challenge, the AIA 2030 Commitment has been adopted in America to enable change in the practice of architecture in a sustainable way. 

Giving utmost priority to the energy performance of a building, the commitment helps firms to work towards creating carbon-neutral buildings, developments, and major renovations by 2030. Transforming architecture in a way that is data-driven, holistic, project-based, and firm-wide are some of the predominant factors of the commitment. The 2030 commitment enables a firm to elevate their practice, save the client’s money, and fight towards the global climate change issue.  

What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet7
As of 2015 © SlideShare

The participating firms in the U.S, have to submit an annual portfolio containing all their projects in the active design phase during that calendar year. These portfolios are further sent to an online database constituting all the required statistics including the average “predicted energy use intensity” I.e. the pEUI, building type, projected savings, baseline energy, area, building performance, etc. Each firm is responsible for reporting and generating the required information of which the pEUI is averaged to determine the total annual savings.  

What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet8
pEUI reduction as of 2018 © The Green Architect
What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet9
AIA portfolio example © Architect Magazine

The AIA 2030 Commitment aims to achieve 70% pEUI savings with a target of increasing it by 10% in 2020, 2025, and 100% by 2030. Although the firms only reached an average of 42% pEUI savings in the year 2016. 

What is AIA 2030 Commitment? - Sheet10
AIA report © AIA 2030 Report
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Impact of elements on buildings © SlideShare

Architects play a major role in making significant reductions in carbon emissions. About 40% of the US energy is consumed by buildings, making the AIA 2030 Commitment even more important and promoting architects to publicly show their dedication towards a carbon-free future and inspiring others. The firms who have to participate are already putting in the hard work. A recent update in 2019 reported that the energy savings equivalent to the carbon emissions would isolate 26.4 million acres of forest in a single year.  

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The ultimate goal © 2030 Districts Network

The direction towards which the American Institute of Architects is progressing is of utmost importance as it takes systematic measures, uses technology, and urges architecture firms to be sustainable. As of now, designing climate-responsive buildings and reducing carbon-emissions is not an option but a necessity, and hence the 2030 commitment should be taken seriously. The 2030 Challenge aims to save energy globally and each country or region should take adequate measures towards it.  


Aishwarya Khurana is an architect and creative writer, who likes to express herself through humor, words, and quirky ideas. A design enthusiast, butter chicken lover, and music junkie, she loves to read and write about art & architecture and believes that nobody can defeat her in a pop-culture quiz.