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Act now, Act fast, Act big

  • 1.  Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-27-2019 20:44
    The AIA must enumerate concrete steps for itself, its members and their communities, pushing all levels of government to enact initiatives and laws with teeth.


  • 2.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 17:23
    Personally, my wife and I have one car, walk or bike to work and most other destinations, and have solar DHW and PV collectors on the roof of our condo (which has shared surfaces with other units). Air travel is our big carbon indulgence. 
    I plan to get an electric vehicle.
    Doug Kelbaugh FAIA
    Emil Lorch Collegiate Professor
    of Architecture and Urban Planning
    and Dean Emeritus
    Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
    University of Michigan
    2000 Bonisteel Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069
    Mobile: 734 358-9587 Home: 734 827-2259

  • 3.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 20:16
    Currently, in the Rhode Island General Assembly, we have companion legislation in both the RI Senate S-0662 and the RI House H-5869 for the "Economic and Climate Resilience Act of 2019".  I am humbled and proud to be a co-author of this legislation and co-chair of EnergizeRI a statewide coalition which is promoting and supporting this bill.

    The Senate bill language can be accessed at: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText19/SenateText19/S0662.pdf
    With my regards,


    P.O. Box 3210, Providence, RI 02909

    LAURENTIA Bioregion

    innovation and excellence in design and planning
    creating a working landscape of
    directed toward social responsibility and stewardship, lifelong learning,
    sustainable and renewable environments, appropriate technology and economics,
     in our urban, rural, coastal, and corporate communities
     © 2019

  • 4.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 20:28
    Agree, but I ask again HOW does a working architect react to a client that refuses or help when they cannot afford? 

    Are you suggesting something else? Ethics changes? AIA Agreements? More certifications? We can advocate for new codes, tax credits ...(incentives or mandates...would allow us to act.)
    Thats what I expect AIA is already doing. 

    I'm all for amping up our position and advocacy but I also want to make sure we understand what we can realistically do as individual architects.

    Architects design ~20% (some say less) of our built environment. We are not relevant for too many leaders in the movement. Our local 2030 movement is mostly specialists that see architects as obstacles.
    I can choose to work ONLY for clients that will follow 2030, and reduce my client base... But that doesn't solve the problem, does it?

    Robert S. Pfaffmann, FAIA, AICP
    223 Fourth Ave
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222
    412.471.2470 (office)
    412.398.7546 (cell)

  • 5.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 20:44
    As debated earlier among us, a clause could be added to the AIA ethical principles.Many of us were in favor of doing so.
    Doug Kelbaugh FAIA

  • 6.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 21:05
    With all due respect that doesn't get the action we espouse... Incentives, Mandates at all levels of government. Are we wiling to change our AIA Agreements? Turn down work? Form a union ? Having just advocated for and completed a zero energy town hall, I know we need to run for office and write legislation. Have you ever written a green spec for a project and have the contractor and owner VE it to death? 

  • 7.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 21:13
    "Incentives, Mandates at all levels of government. Are we wiling to change our AIA Agreements? Turn down work? Form a union ?"

    Yes to all of these. 
    Climate change is the biggest challenge facing humanity and our earth. It needs prompt, aggressive action.
    Doug Kelbaugh FAIA

  • 8.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 21:24
    "Are we willing to change our AIA Agreements? Turn down work? Form a union?"

    Desperate times call for desperate measures-and these times are indeed desperate.

    To answer your questions, I say yes to each.

    Richard Buday FAIA
    Archimage, Inc.
    Houston TX

  • 9.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-29-2019 18:38

    The 2018 AIA Code of Ethics includes Canon VI: Obligations to the Environment. This Canon includes 5 ethical standards we are to use when making project decisions relative to energy, water, building materials, ecosystems and climate change. It also includes one Rule: "Members shall consider with their clients the environmental effects of their project decisions." The Code is easy to search for on aia.org .

    While there are many design decisions that have significant cost impacts, there are an equal number that make huge environmental differences without impacting costs. Failing to even raise the issues with clients is the behavior we must change.

    One thing we often fail to discuss with clients is the huge savings in operational costs and improvements in occupant health and productivity that are possible when the sustainability performance of a building is improved. The research community is adding evidence to securing these gains every year. When you consider the average building in the US has a useful life of about 75 years every architect can save far more money in operational costs than the value of the fee we receive. How much money does your client want to save? 

    Real estate research shows that high performing sustainable buildings lease faster, lease for more money, sell faster and for more money than their unsustainable competitors. The market is shifting rapidly. On May 21st 75 Fortune 500 US based CEOs urged Congress to pass meaningful climate legislation including a price on carbon. Those CEOs represent $2.5 trillion in market value and more than a million employees.

    We can remain timid, toss up our hands and say "The client doesn't want to do it." I don't think society will allow us to get away with that much longer. The are cases working through the courts that will shift the standard of care, complying with existing codes or regulations may not be a shield against liability when available and reliable means to avoid foreseeable harm are ignored.

    We need to decide how we want future generations judge us. Have we been worthy ancestors who acted when we could to avoid planetary disaster?

    RK Stewart FAIA
    2007 AIA President
    M: 415.250.4849

  • 10.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-29-2019 19:14
    Canon VI is excellent, although I don't think many architects are familiar with it. 

    More importantly, as I've said before, is the need to include the term "climate change" to update the Code of Ethics. "Environmental" has lost its punch, and it doesn't deal with recent scientific findings. Climate change already threatens many aspects of both the natural and built environment. It's arguably the biggest existential challenge currently facing our species, if not the biggest ever. 

    For those interested in digging deeper, consider reading my new book THE URBAN FIX: Resilient Cities in the War against Climate Change, Heat Islands and Overpopulation (available online from Routledge/Taylor & Francis, typically with a 20% discount).

    Doug Kelbaugh FAIA

  • 11.  RE: Act now, Act fast, Act big

    Posted 05-28-2019 22:20

    As past president, I can say with some authority that resolutions are one of the most misunderstood actions at AIA. The most useful resolutions clearly state a priority of the membership and illustrate support for that priority with delegate votes.

    Last year, there were several great examples where more than 9 in 10 delegates voted to support the resolution. There were also examples where the resolutions dove too deeply into specific actions and timeframes.

    Rather than helping to implement member priorities, overly specific resolutions result in shifting the Board’s time away from identifying the most effective, responsive, and timely actions. I can say with all sincerity that the Board and staff take resolutions very seriously and work diligently to act on them quickly and for greatest impact. Sometimes, too many specifics make action harder not more certain

    I am the principal author of the Climate Action resolution. It is written to definitively cite the key AIA “literature” that supports urgent climate action while also demanding AIA implementation of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s findings (that address the very definitions of health, safety, and welfare in the era of climate disruption) and the Sustainability Leadership Group’s recommendations (AIA’s “super consortium” on sustainable, resilient, regenerative, healthy, and equitable communities in the era of climate disruption).

    What is needed now is for delegates to come to the Annual Meeting next Wednesday to express overwhelming support for the Climate Action resolution. Anything you can do to contribute matters. Contact your chapter leadership. Let them know you support this resolution. Let them know it is a critical step toward implementing urgent and sustained climate action at AIA.

    Carl Elefante FAIA FAPT LEED AP
    Quinn Evans Architects
    d: 202-591-2510
    m: 301-325-3266