Climate Advocacy

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Climate Action Advocacy
Advocacy Overview
Code Advocacy
Embodied Carbon Advocacy
Reach Code Advocacy

Climate Action Advocacy

We believe in the value of the architect’s skillset to achieve sustainable, smart, and resilient design solutions for the built environment and stand ready to assist Legislators and policymakers in responding to the challenges of the rapidly changing environment.

We provide actionable information on and advocate on behalf of legislative, regulatory, and code changes that create a positive meaningful impact on our climate emergency.

On an ongoing basis, the Climate Action Advocacy Subcommittee, composed of members who are sustainability experts, reviews state legislation for impacts on the environment and built environment. The committee evaluates the potential impact on the profession, business environment, and vulnerable communities, subsequently recommending positions to AIA California’s Board of Directors.

The Climate Action Committee and other AIA California members testify at legislative hearings, before regulatory agencies, and other entities making law and policy decisions regarding the built environment and climate.

These actions build upon a successful history in the area. AIA California and its members played a significant role in the development and implementation of California’s green building standards through the institution of CALGreen, the first statewide green building code.

By actively participating in the code development process, AIA California helped shape the state’s approach to sustainable architecture and fostered a greater emphasis on environmentally responsible design. This effort has had a lasting impact on the architecture industry in California and has contributed to the state’s leadership in sustainable building practices.

ClimateAdvocacy-General advocacy

General Advocacy

At AIA California, we believe design professionals have an important role to play in decarbonizing the built environment, which is why we advocate for Climate Action in the following ways:

  • Collaborate with state agencies and allies to rapidly transform design practices and building codes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the built environment.
  • Promote affordable, healthy, resilient and zero carbon housing for all.
  • Encourage adaptive reuse of existing buildings and low-carbon material use to lower embodied carbon emissions.
  • Educate and share resources with our members, design professionals and allies on decarbonization best practices.

Code Advocacy

AIA California strives to advance Climate Action by partnering with California state agencies, key stakeholders, and various allied organizations to update and revise our building codes. AIA California leads initiatives in several key code areas including: 

  • Successfully advocated for the first mandatory and voluntary Embodied Carbon Emissions Reductions measures into the CALGreen building code.
  • Successfully advanced new code chapters for California from the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) to provide more options for the retrofit and adaptive reuse of existing buildings thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Planning for advances in future code cycles to provide architects with the tools required to serve their clients and their communities, while also advancing climate action, resilience, equity, and inclusion.

Embodied Carbon Advocacy

Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and demolition of buildings.

AIA California advocates for embodied carbon reductions in the built environment by engaging with state agencies and building coalitions with groups such as Architecture 2030, CALGreen Carbon Reduction Collaborative, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), New Buildings Institute (NBI), US Green Building Council (USGBC) and others to develop and implement state building codes that address carbon reduction.

AIA California also provides education on Zero Net Carbon design strategies and tools, and connects cities and jurisdictions to provide best practices and support in their reach code efforts.

Reach Code Advocacy

AIA California encourages local and state jurisdictions to aim high when it comes to climate action reach codes, especially for electrification and decarbonization.

As important as ambitious reach codes are, consistency, efficiency, easy implementation, and enforcement are also important to enable change in California’s built environment.

AIA California currently advocates for, and collaborates with, allied organizations and state agencies to develop codes and frameworks at the state level that can be easily adopted by local jurisdictions to reduce code disparity. Our goal is to help California move in alignment across the state to meet all our carbon reduction goals, together.

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