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Home > Feature Articles > Sustainable Development Best Practices for Community Sustainability

2010 Imperative: A First Step for Building Professionals

Commercial developers and building owners are perhaps the most important part of the energy reduction equation.

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Sustainable Design Practices for Architects

Teaching architects sustainable design practices is a major focus for the AIA, now in its 150th year. The 2010 Imperative strives for complete ecological literacy in design education and carbon-neutral campuses by 2010. The Global Emergency Teach-In webcast has taught thousands of architects, engineers, and planners how their actions have affected the planet and how they can minimize the use of fossil fuels in future projects.

The AIA also works with the National Architectural Accreditation Board and other educational organizations to outline a sustainability curriculum for college-level design programs. The 50 to 50 program outlines 50 sustainable design principles to help architects meet the goal to reduce fossil fuel use by 50 percent.


AIA's 50 >> 50 is a range of PRINCIPLES of sustainability which when embraced, individually or collectively, will help practitioners move projects toward the AIA’s immediate goal of 50% reduction of project fossil fuel consumption.
The AIA is also doing its best to increase public understanding of the impact of buildings on global warming. “The press has done a wonderful job of raising awareness about transportation,” Stewart says. “But choices about refrigerators, insulation, and windows are important, too. We need the public at large to understand that their investment in the place they live or work will have a bigger impact on the environment than what they drive.”

Commercial developers and building owners are perhaps the most important part of the equation. Architects and engineers have traditionally taken their cue from clients regarding a building’s environmental performance. The standard practice has been to focus more on construction costs than long-term operational costs.

With a typical building lifespan of 75 years, however, maintenance and other ongoing expenditures often prove to be much greater than the initial costs, making energy efficiency an excellent investment over time. Moreover, new studies show that sustainable design elements add little or nothing to construction costs and increase productivity and save money.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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