The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can more easily work toward carbon neutral buildings, developments, and major renovations by 2030.
Small firms have the potential for enormous impact on the architecture profession’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality. Owners of small practices might feel like their contributions are inconsequential in the overall scheme of things. However, small firms make up 77% of the architectural practices and employ roughly one-fifth of all practicing architects in the US. Without the participation of these firms and practitioners, we’ll never achieve a fully sustainable built environment and the climate crisis will continue to worsen.
There are many ways architects can go about practicing more responsibly, but one in which our profession is working to pool resources and efforts is the 2030 Challenge. Our own office, The Arkitex Studio, signed on to the 2030 Commitment – a program designed to support the 2030 Challenge – in July of this year. While a little late to the party, this puts us in the company of almost 1,000 – of the country’s approximately 19,000 – other architecture firms who have already stepped up.
We have no good excuse for why we didn’t do so sooner. Perhaps it was the many hats that small firm practitioners wear that kept us from taking on yet another commitment beyond meeting client needs, but this is truly important to the future of our planet and something we have to prioritize.
We have all been through a lot in the last 19 months; since the force of the pandemic first hit us like a ton of bricks. Like everyone else, we have had moments of introspection and self-reflection, pondering the state of our world and our environment. It was during yet another disaster, the 2021 Winter Storm that caused massive power outages across the state of Texas, that we had the slap in the face to wake up and pay attention. Sure, we have been designing our projects with the environment in mind, applying the principles of proper solar orientation, using sustainable materials, and seeking energy-saving mechanical systems. But we have not been measuring, tracking, and comparing our progress, nor seeking energy alternatives. As the business saying goes, “You cannot manage what you do not measure.” We are beginning this process this year, committing to measure and to improve as we move forward.
Regardless of why climate change may be happening, it is impossible to deny that we need to make changes to improve and plan for the future of the world and future generations. The Arkitex Studio is making the commitment, the 2030 Commitment, to move us in the right direction, one firm at a time.
The Arkitex Studio, Inc. is a small, award winning architectural firm located in Bryan, Texas. Embedded in our community, we are committed to thoughtful design, enduring relationships and environmental stewardship.