Climate Action Strategies that Foster Healthy Communities
The climate crisis is an existential threat to all, but in California, residents with fewer economic resources and communities of color carry a disproportionate burden in terms of the harmful effects of climate change and its drivers.

With buildings responsible for roughly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we believe it is incumbent on architects to act. Climate action and the design of a more just, equitable, and resilient future are core values of the American Institute of Architects California.

Here are a few of the strategies that we advocate for. We welcome collaborators.

Building Electrification Improves Air Quality, Supports Healthier Neighborhoods, and Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

When it comes to a building’s operational power–heat, air conditioning, cooking tools–we advocate for clean power sources–electrification–rather than fossil fuels. Local AIA California Chapters throughout the state are advocating for electrification of their cities. Want to connect with us? Find a local group of our members near you.

Clean Isn’t Necessarily Costly.

Electrification can be win-win for multifamily housing developers, property owners, and neighborhoods. The University of California Carbon Neutral Buildings Cost Study about structures on its campuses found that all-electric construction and life-cycle costs were lower or cost-neutral. All-electric housing projects were 5.9% less expensive to build and had a 3.5% lower life-cycle cost.

Increase the “Adaptive Reuse” of Existing Buildings; Reduce Embodied Carbon

It can take up to 80 years to offset a building’s embodied carbon–the greenhouse gas emissions from a building produced entirely from new construction. Reusing existing buildings and transforming vacant space into commercial and residential projects can reduce embodied carbon and deliver much-needed housing. And…

Adaptive Reuse is Easier than Ever

In July 2024, new California building codes–which AIA California advocated for to reduce barriers to these types of projects–go into effect across the state.

We Support Legislation and Building Codes that Advance Energy Efficient Buildings–Reducing Operational Carbon and Increasing Well-Being

As they advance a more sustainable future, energy-efficient buildings can have health benefits in both homes and workplaces. Research has found that people working in these buildings are less likely to suffer from fatigue, headaches, or skin irritations. 

Health for Communities is Win-Win for Employers and Economies

Increasing components in a building that support better employee health, such as reducing the burning of fossil fuels, can have a significant impact on workplace productivity.

According to the Healthy Building Team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, years of research have shown that improved indoor environmental quality is associated with better health outcomes and cognitive function. Additionally, multiple studies have confirmed that these environments support better productivity.

About AIA California
American Institute of Architects California (AIA California) is committed to harnessing the transformative power of architecture and design to address the greatest economic, environmental, and social challenges of our time. We represent more than 11,000 architects and design professionals who join together to design a better world.

Skip to content