Earth Day 2024 – AIA 2030 Commitment

April 22, 2024

Happy Earth Day!  GGLO is excited to share our progress toward designing places to be Climate Positive Design by 2030. In response to the building sector contributing nearly 40% of total emissions related to climate change, the American Institute of Architects created the The AIA 2030 Commitment in 2010 to encourage member firms to reduce operational carbon in their projects.  Operational carbon includes emissions of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases related to operating a building (i.e. lighting, power outlets, HVAC & water heating systems, pumps, elevators, and equipment). GGLO was among the first 60 firms of the now 1,300+ that have joined the Commitment to annually report their progress. 

In addition to reducing operational carbon, we have expanded our focus the last several years to reducing the embodied carbon in our projects’ building materials and maximizing the sequestration potential of our landscapes.  This is critically important to achieving Climate Positive design as embodied carbon is generated in the construction process and has significant and immediate impacts to climate change.  GGLO was among the first 55 firms to report embodied carbon analysis to AIA 2030 and is a pilot partner with the Carbon Leadership Forum WBLCA Benchmark Study v2, contributing a multitude of whole building life cycle assessments to help establish embodied carbon baselines at a national level.

Infographic containing: graphics and text which outlines the GGLO 2030 Commitment and progress towards designing climate positive buildings by 2030. It highlights that 67% of their projects are pursuing sustainability certifications, 100% of full building projects were energy modeled, resulting in a 56.86% reduction compared to their 2030 baseline, a 10.18% improvement over 2022. Their operational carbon reductions equate to emissions from 109 million miles driven by an average gas-powered car, or over 10,000 cars taken off the road for a year. Their reductions also equate to the annual energy consumption of 5,568 U.S. homes, fully charging 2.8 billion smartphones, and offsetting CO2 absorption of 49,851 acres of U.S. forest for a year. The metrics show 42,698 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided annually, and 57% of projects established embodied carbon baselines.

Over the last year, GGLO’s current projects have been designed to reduce operating emissions by nearly 57%, a 10% improvement over the previous year and a majority have been evaluated for embodied carbon reduction with targeted reductions to materials with the highest global warming potential.  Thanks to all of our clients and collaborators that contributed to this effort! 

For more information on our 2023 results, see News – GGLO.