For Elected Officials:

Climate Action Strategies that Foster Healthy Communities

In a world facing increasingly complex challenges, architects deliver holistic solutions and implement fact-driven strategies that promote well-being, support the economy, and address the Climate Emergency. According to recent reports, California must triple the pace of carbon emissions reductions to meet the existing goal of 40% reduction by 2030.

Since the construction and operation of buildings contribute as much as 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, we advocate for accelerating the following statewide policy goals:

protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public from the impacts of climate change 

create jobs in California’s rapidly expanding green economy

promote climate justice and equity, and address California’s housing crisis

meet California’s established decarbonization goals by 2030

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Accelerate Building Code Amendments to Rapidly Decarbonize the Built Environment

Stop burning fossil fuels in building construction and building operations statewide by accelerating electrification building codes and renewable energy mandates. Increase code-mandated embodied carbon requirements to stimulate faster public adoption and industry participation.

Incentivize Development and Adoption of New Low-Carbon Building Technologies

New low-emission, all-electric appliances and heat pump technologies, and cheaper sources of clean, renewable energy will further reduce operational carbon emissions and improve indoor air quality as our climate warms. Increase financial and other incentives to California-based businesses working at the cutting edge of low-carbon appliances and renewable energy research, development, and production.

Champion the Innovation of Regionally Produced, Low-Carbon Building Materials

Pass new legislation to accelerate the development and production of low-carbon concrete, steel, and other common building materials. Promote California-based industries to supply these materials regionally and reduce carbon-intensive importation. 

Promote the Reuse/Energy Upgrade of Existing Structures Over Building New

California’s existing building stock is one of our greatest untapped resources of “stored” embodied carbon. Reusing an existing structure creates 60-75% less embodied carbon emissions than a similar ground-up building. Continue to provide building code and financial incentives to promote adaptive reuse over building new. Develop new tax incentives and other creative financing strategies to make deep energy retrofits of existing homes and other buildings available to all Californians regardless of income level.

Promote Climate Justice, Public Health, and Equity: Reduce California’s Housing Crisis

Continue to develop new policies and legislation that promote dignified, healthy, low-carbon housing for all Californians. Simplify regulations and address financial roadblocks hindering the reuse of existing building stock to bring more housing units online faster while also reducing embodied carbon emissions.

AIA California and its member architects support legislators, agencies, and communities in efforts to take immediate and effective climate action.

American Institute of Architects California members recognize the audacious challenges our planet and our communities face. We provide proactive leadership in the design of buildings that reduce greenhouse gas emissions for communities. We stand ready to support civic leaders in introducing new policies, building codes, and other incentives to accelerate our path to a just, resilient, zero-carbon future for all Californians. 

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.

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