How can your small architecture firm become more sustainable?

Submitted by Katherine Flynn on Thu, 06/23/2022 - 13:24
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[["a",["href","https:\/\/\/","target","_new"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/"]],["a",["href","https:\/\/\/resources\/6077668-framework-for-design-excellence"]]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Currently, more than half of larger firms have a\nsustainability or climate action plan, while fewer than a third of smaller\nfirms do."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"A packed room in Chicago\u2019s McCormick Place Convention Center\nkicked off AIA\u2019s "],[0,[0],1,"Conference on Architecture 2022"],[0,[],0," at the first education session\nof the week, \u201cSmall Firms: Making the Pivot to a Sustainability-Focused\nPractice.\u201d A panel of four professionals from smaller architecture firms discussed\nmotivations, successes, and pitfalls in moving their small firms toward a\ncommon goal of sustainability. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cConserving energy isn\u2019t necessarily the thing we care about\nfrom a sustainability point of view; we care about carbon emissions,\u201d said\nNadav Malin, Hon. AIA and President of "],[0,[1],1,"BuildingGreen\nInc."],[0,[],0,", a Vermont-based consulting and training firm that helps architects\nand designers ensure healthy and sustainable design and construction\nstrategies. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cThe most important thing is to stop burning carbon and to\nstop investing in systems that will burn toxic fossil fuels. It\u2019s important to\nmake the choice to go electric when you can,\u201d said Malin. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Joined by Gwen Fuertes, AIA, Associate at "],[0,[2],1,"Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects"],[0,[],0,", Janet Olson,\nAIA, Principal at "],[0,[3],1,"G|R|E|C Architects"],[0,[],0,",\nand James Roseberry, AIA, Senior Project Manager at "],[0,[4],1,"Trivers"],[0,[],0,", Malin hosted the panel and examined\nhow smaller firms can pivot into a more sustainable mindset. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Members of the audience were asked to fill out short virtual\nsurveys to gauge their background and their level of experience with sustainability\nat their firm. More than 75% of the architects in the crowd worked at a firm\nwith fewer than 20 employees. Much of the audience worked in either single\nfamily, commercial office, or multi-family sectors. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"When asked specifically about sustainability, more than 75%\nsaid their firm is either interested in sustainability or it is a core tenant\nto their firm\u2019s mission, while individually more than 90% of the members of the\naudience claimed they are either \u201cpassionate\u201d or \u201csupportive\u201d of sustainable\ndesign. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The majority of audience members stated that they regularly\ndiscuss the environmental impact their projects have. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Despite this interest and focus on\nsustainability, most of the audience said they didn\u2019t require training for\nsustainability education, nor did they set minimum sustainability expectations\nfor their clients, in contrast with the recently updated AIA Code of Ethics,\nwhich states that \u201cmembers shall consider with their clients the environmental\neffects of their project decisions.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Throughout the 90-minute session,\neach panelist provided tips to the audience on how they could be more compliant\nwith sustainable practices and gave advice on how to meet potential\nsustainability goals. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"\u201cI think a lot of people in my\ngeneration are looking to set careers in designing spaces that respond to\nclimate change,\u201d said Fuentes. \u201cThis session is about a pivot to sustainable\npractice. There is so much more we can do, and we all have work to do.\u201d "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"For example, if a firm doesn\u2019t\nhave a sustainability or climate action plan, Fuentes recommended looking at examples\nof plans from other firms and beginning a working document that follows those\nguidelines, emphasizing that it doesn\u2019t need to be fully polished from day one.\nShe also recommended diving into "],[0,[5],1,"AIA\u2019s\nFramework for Design Excellence"],[0,[],0,", a robust resource designed to inspire\nsustainable, resilient, and inclusive design. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"According to Fuentes, more than half of larger firms have a\nsustainability or climate action plan, while fewer than a third of smaller\nfirms do. \u201cSmaller firms have different challenges and opportunities when it\ncomes to achieving a sustainable design culture,\u201d she said. \u201cWe have to be\nnimble because we all wear more hats. It\u2019s not that we can\u2019t do sustainable\npractice.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Due to continuing education\nrequirements for architects, Roseberry stressed the importance of focusing on\nsustainability in new education initiatives. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Roseberry recommended looking at\nAIA programming, on a local, state, and national level, for webinars related to\nissues on sustainability and climate. \u201cGiven AIA\u2019s focus on sustainability,\nthere is so much information out there for people to educate themselves. There\u2019s\na great group of resources.\u201d He added that requiring or rewarding employees for\nsustainable accreditation can help your firm become more focused on these\nissues. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"He recommended starting with a\nfirm-wide LEED GA accreditation in order to get your firm on the right track in\nrelation to sustainability."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Additional recommendations include\nfollowing the \u201cif you can do one thing\u201d resources within the aforementioned\nFramework for Design Excellence, and if possible, working with a climate\nconsultant on some projects in order to learn the right processes. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Ultimately, the panel agreed that\nit\u2019s important to set goals related to climate and sustainability and that\ntrying to do too much too fast ends up being futile in the long run. "]]]]}
Primary Image
Members shared resources at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2022 to help small firm practioners become more sustainable.
Members Only
Tile Sizes
Use on Homepage
SEO Keywords
Sustainability, small architecture firms
Temp Draft
[{"updated_date":"2022-06-23T13:24:46+00:00","author_name":"Katherine Flynn","author_id":"32bc7e87-2d30-4669-be52-411912a0e836","action":"created"},{"updated_date":"2022-06-23T18:13:23+00:00","author_name":"Katherine Flynn","author_id":"32bc7e87-2d30-4669-be52-411912a0e836","action":null},{"updated_date":"2022-06-23T18:13:36+00:00","author_name":"Katherine Flynn","author_id":"32bc7e87-2d30-4669-be52-411912a0e836","action":"published"},{"updated-date":"2022-06-23T18:17:01+00:00","author-name":"Katherine Flynn","author-id":"32bc7e87-2d30-4669-be52-411912a0e836","action":"published"}]
Suppress Tile Description
Use on cd Homepage
Remove from cd Homepage
Ready to Publish
Hide Ads
Embargo Date
Use on CD Homepage Right 1
Remove from CD Homepage Right 1
Use on CD Homepage Right 2
Remove from CD Homepage Right 2
Hero Text Properties