Did Albert Einstein really say insanity was making the same mistakes over and over again but expecting different results? I know, it’s the most over-used cliche of all time. But gimme a break. It works perfectly here. And I promise never to use it again.
The 2013 Annual Report of the AIA 2030 Commitment is here. Download it, read and share. Help promote this important measure of our progress. Post a link on your firm’s intranet. Like it on your Facebook or LinkedIn page. It’s a screen-shot of where we are in our quest to improve the designed energy efficiency of our buildings and spaces.
You can and should read the whole report yourself. But in summary, how are we doing?
There’s good news and there’s bad news. Let’s start with the good news:
The database is growing by leaps and bounds. In 2012, 1.4 billion square feet of designed project floor area was submitted by firms completing compliance reporting. That’s more than twice the previous year’s total of 656.2 million gross square feet. A 120% increase.
More good news: This report on the AIA 2030 Commitment is a keeper. It’s nicely written and edited by the estimable Kelly Pickard*. It features a deep-dive on embodied energy and carbon in building structures, lots of info-graphics on modeled PEUI by building type and size, and a fact-filled update on the reference standards behind both key reporting metrics: PEUI (Predicted Energy Use Intensity) and LPD (Lighting Power Density).
Allow me to digress here. Do you ever wonder how your AIA dues get spent? Along with the excellent new Sustainability Leadership Opportunity Scan by AIA Resident Fellow Mary Ann Lazarus FAIA and everything that AIA Communities by Design does, the AIA 2030 Commitment and this annual report are worth every penny. Because if America’s architects truly are “committed to building a better world”, these programs and documents are proof. They make the value proposition for architects better than any advertising campaign could.
And although we are told that a few of the projects in the 2013 AIA 2030 Commitment are at 100% energy use reduction (net zero energy) and 12% of projects are designed to be 60% better than code or greater, that’s about it for the good news.
The overall average energy efficiency needle has barely budged from 2010. The use of energy modeling has not increased, the number of small firms in the Commitment is still embarrassingly small, and (here’s the worst news) only 46% of the firms that signed the AIA 2030 Commitment actually completed their 2012 compliance reporting. Really? What’s up with that?
In other words, we’re all stuck. Which brings me back to the opening quote of this blog post. For the last several years, we have been approaching our design work the same way but hoping for improvement.
We recognize the connection between architecture and climate change and have embraced the all-important goal to move our practices and projects towards net zero carbon emissions. Our first year of AIA 2030 Commitment results looked pretty good. We were proud of seeing our buildings aggregated at 34% better-than-baseline. But when our second and third year results looked just like our first year, we must admit that we haven’t built upon that initial success. We haven’t improved.
My firm – Bergmeyer – is in this predicament as well. We don’t exactly know how to get un-stuck, either, but we’re going to try a few things:
For starters, we’re asking the Sustainable Performance Institute to take a look under the hood. The SPI is an organization that helps firms figure out how to deliver on their sustainable design promise. For us, it might be coming to an understanding of what “change management” entails. It might be setting more specific goals for our projects or training our design teams more effectively.
We’re also going to try our hand at post-occupancy evaluations and collecting actual energy-use data on past projects. We know this step should already be part of our core services, but like most architects we’ve been focused on completing our scopes of work and moving on. It’s time to start looking back.
And we also need to get better at thinking like engineers. We need to set clearer expectations for our engineering consultants. We’re pretty tired of asking for lighting power density calculations after a project has been designed and then being shocked – shocked! – by LPD values that are all over the map. This has to change.
So that’s the report. The challenge of how to make continuous, systemic improvement is squarely before us. How is your firm improving its design process? What works for you? At Bergmeyer, we’ll keep working at this AIA 2030 thing . . . . and keep blogging about our measured progress as we go. Stay tuned.
* Up until recently, Kelly was the Director of Building Science + Technology for the AIA and was the organizational leader of the AIA 2030 Commitment. Since Kelly has now left the building, let’s be sure the AIA puts someone as energetic and resourceful and – well – committed behind the Commitment soon.
More footnotes: BSA Member firm Gensler has shared their aggregate 2012 AIA 2030 Commitment data with the BSA, too. Thank you, Gensler. And another BSA-member firm has signed the Commitment: Symmes Maini & McKee Associates. Good going, SMMA.
“Eighty percent of success in life is just showing up.” – Woody Allen
Last Tuesday, we had our big Mayoral primary election in Boston. First time in twenty years that Thomas M. Menino wasn’t on the ballot. Given the historical significance of this race, you’d think voter turnout would be off the charts. It wasn’t. 113,222 ballots were recorded, 31% of registered voters.
But that participation rate was still better than what we’re seeing from the architects in Boston who have signed the AIA 2030 Commitment.
Allow me to explain.
The AIA 2030 Commitment is a brilliantly-conceived program from the American Institute of Architects that puts the aspirational “carbon-neutral buildings by 2030” goals of the 2030 Challenge into an actionable practice-oriented format. It gives hard-working architects a common language of energy efficiency metrics to evaluate our design work and an objective format for annual progress reporting. The reporting gets shared every year with the AIA, who complies and publishes the results. If every architectural firm participated in this program, we’d have a crystal-clear picture of how our profession is meeting the challenge of fighting greenhouse gas production from buildings.
And in case you haven’t been reading this blog from the beginning, here’s the idea: It’s the story of my architectural firm – Bergmeyer – after we signed the Commitment in 2011 and are finding our way through the program. We’ve been sharing our struggles, accomplishments, foibles, and lessons-learned in the hope of persuading YOUR firm to sign, too, and to see the value of the program to your practice.
It’s also been my personal agenda to focus the message on member firms of our local AIA Chapter – the Boston Society of Architects – because I’m BSA President for another couple months and, well, Boston you’re my home.
Ultimately, once a bunch of firms had signed the Commitment, the plan was for the BSA to collect the compliance reporting data from our local members, consolidate it (like AIA Chicago does) and publish those results so everyone can know how our chapter is collectively doing. Because, really, that’s the point. Sustainable design is an all-hands-on-deck group effort. Our chances of success improve if everyone is in.
About thirty BSA-member firms have signed the Commitment so far. You can see them on the national signatory list here. Earlier this year, the call went out to BSA members for data. Two years and 51 blog posts later, we got spread sheets from nine firms.
Is that the best we can do, Boston? Eight firms out of the thirty that signed is about 29%. That’s lower than the voter turnout last Tuesday. And it looks even worse this way: The Boston Society of Architects has 639 member firms. So only one in twenty BSA firms have signed the Commitment, and only one in eighty have shared their compliance reporting data.
We can do better.
But before this post turns into a diatribe, let’s take a moment to thank the few and the proud that have bravely volunteered to give us their numbers so far. In addition to my firm, Bergmeyer, these are the other Boston firms that are with us:
So tell me. Why hasn’t your firm signed, and why haven’t you shared your data? I’ve heard the reasons. Let’s take them one at a time:
“We don’t see the program’s value.” The AIA 2030 Commitment asks you to report on the PEUI or LPD of every project your firm designs each year. When you complete your compliance report and send to the AIA, you have at your fingertips a spreadsheet with all your projects, by type and by size, with their designed energy efficiency. Every project! You can sort by market segment. Sort by client. Sort by project team. Compare this year’s results to last year. Where are your successes, what needs more attention? How much more value could one spreadsheet deliver, for cryin’ out loud?
“It’s too labor-intensive.” It’s one spreadsheet! You must be confusing the AIA 2030 Commitment with LEED. (Sorry. No disrespect intended. I love the USGBC.) Yes, you have to make it part of someone’s job to collect project data. Tell me: how does your firm approach sustainable design now? Isn’t it part of everyone’s job? That’s what I thought.
“We’re afraid of posting bad numbers.” Guess what? We all are. This chat usually includes a description of the firm’s markets – hospitals or public buildings – and a claim that project energy use intensity is near-impossible to manage. Or that the firm’s leadership is risk-averse and cautious about posting less-than-stellar results. Or they don’t want to be “early adopters”. What’s the deal, if you can’t get a gold plaque you don’t want to know about it? Nobody said net zero energy or carbon-neutral operations would be easy. But the value of sharing our knowledge and experience far outweighs the embarrassment of admitting – what? – we haven’t perfected this yet? Nobody has.
“We don’t want to commit to something we might not be able to achieve.” This one is my favorite. Think of the Commitment as a BHAG, or Big Hairy Ambitious Goal. The idea is right out of the book Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. BHAGs are compelling and strategic organizational goals that focus a company on critically-important long-term achievements. Yes, you might fail. But if you really get behind a BHAG, you will try like there’s no tomorrow and transform your practice.
So c’mon, Boston. If you’ve already completed your AIA 2030 Commitment report for 2012, share it with us. We promise we won’t name names, just compile the data. And if you haven’t signed, there’s still time to start working on 2013.
Left field for the Boston Red Sox. As major-league baseball positions go, it’s legendary. From 1940 to 1990, only three guys played left field for the Sox, all of them All-Stars. Ted Williams played it for 22 seasons from 1939 to 1960. Carl Yastrzemski, 23 seasons from 1961 to 1983. Then Jim Ed Rice, 15 seasons from 1974 to 1989. And all that was before Manuel Aristides Ramirez Onelcida.
Being Mayor of Boston is not unlike playing left field for the Red Sox. We’ve had three mayors in 45 years. Kevin White, four terms, 1968 to 1984. Ray Flynn, 2-1/2 terms,1984 to 1993. Then Thomas M. Menino, five terms, 1993 to 2013. And that’s saying nothing about James Michael Curley.
We love our Mayors. Maybe even more than our left fielders. So when Mayor Menino recently decided to call it a career after 20 years, it was very big news for Bostonians.
Forget that TMM was the only Mayor many of our city’s residents had ever known. To the architects in Boston who signed the AIA 2030 Commitment, the bigger question was whether Boston’s next mayor would keep us on track to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Would Boston’s next Mayor bail from the Green Communities act and the stretch code? Would great programs like the city’s E+ Buildings, Greenovate Boston, and Renew Boston Solar continue to exist?
We can’t answer these questions yet. But lemme tell ya folks. All our Mayoral candidates would feel right at home in Fenway Park, because they’ve all become Green Monsters.
In early June, the Boston Society of Architects hosted a public forum at BSA Space for nine of the aspiring mayors. We framed the central question to the candidates as one of leadership on climate change adaptation, greenhouse gas emission reduction, transportation equity and environmental justice. Later, we delivered a huge “best practices” resilience scan (with many thanks to Linnean Solutions’ crack team of researchers, the Barr Foundation, and the Boston Foundation for Architecture) to the Boston Green Ribbon Commission in the hope that Mayor Menino would leave it on his desk for the next occupant to see.
And truly, many of our fellow citizens have also been carrying the environmental advocacy flag. The Conservation Law Foundation and the Environmental League of Massachusetts hosted an excellent public forum on “Energy, the Environment, and the Innovation Economy”. The Mass League of Environmental Voters (@massenvirovoter) has kept up the social media pressure. Boston’s Foundation for a Green Future hosted a Mayoral “EcoForum” on August 16th. Heck, we haven’t seen this much green in Boston since – oh – last St. Patrick’s Day.
And the candidates have heard us. The Boston Globe recently sent ten questions on environmental policy to a dozen candidates for the City Hall position. Nine responded, and their answers were unanimous. Yes, absolutely, and without question the city should continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All answered yes to questions on building energy use reporting and disclosure, on resilience and adaptation planning, and on promoting renewable energy.
Some of the candidates are now saying carbon-neutral by 2050. Most call for curbside composting and “pay as you throw” trash handling. They’re also talking more bike lanes, more photovoltaics, more trees, more electric vehicle charging stations. One candidate described coastal marshlands functioning as buffer zones against catastrophic storm surge. One mentioned property-assessed clean energy bonds. Several pointed to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC as a model of progressive policy.
So now the question is: will these claims translate into real state-wide and regional leadership after the election? We can hope. And we’ll be here to remind the new Mayor of promises made!
But for now, Boston’s climate-change activists can take a moment to pat ourselves on the back. Sustainability has traction.
I have a friend who’s a climate-change denier. He calls climate science “junk science”. He gets in my face about carbon dioxide. CO2 belongs in the atmosphere, he says. The difference between atmospheric CO2 at two hundred something or three hundred something parts per million is infinitesimal! Why waste US taxpayer dollars on some misinformed quest to micro-manage infinitely small quantities of a naturally occurring substance?
My usual reply: Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance too, pal. How many parts per million of arsenic would you like to have in your body?
Logic is wasted on this guy. But little did I know that the toxic-substance-in-your-body argument is the right answer for a question he hadn’t asked.
The question is: how many toxic substances would you like to have in your building products?
Fact is, some pretty nasty bioaccumulative toxins and highly carcinogenic stuff is commonly used in the materials that go into our buildings. Like polyvinyl chloride and its phthalate plasticizers. Like formaldehyde. Heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium. PCBs were banned from flame retardants, now we have bromated and halogenated flame retardants to deal with. Even arsenic! Until recently, arsenic was used in pressure treated wood! Remember?
We have to put a stop to this. And we can, because we have a good team.
I was recently introduced to the work of the Health Product Declaration Collaborative: a bunch of people and organizations who want to eliminate toxic substances in building materials. Their charge: material transparency. The HPD Collaborative calls for architects and designers to only specify products from manufacturers that can provide a Health Product Declaration (HPD), a list of every material used in the manufacturing of every product. They believe full disclosure will drive this change. A template HPD lives on their website.
Take carpet, for instance. Do you know what’s in carpet? I just looked at one manufacturer’s data. Mostly nylon and calcium carbonate (a mineral found in rocks) with small amounts of polyester and silica. The backing contains recycled calcium alumina glass spheres and – um – polyvinyl chloride copolymer. Oops, there it is.
But wait. This blog is about the AIA 2030 Commitment. What does all this have to do with reducing building energy use?
Glad you asked. Answer this one: why do we do this AIA 2030 Commitment thing? For building energy efficiency, yes. For carbon emissions reduction, yes. But at the root of it all, it’s about human health and prosperity. Love of humankind. We do it because we care about people, people that don’t even exist yet. And look, it just doesn’t make sense to make buildings more energy efficient while filling them with toxic materials.
And besides, there is plenty of support for disclosure and material transparency. The Healthy Building Network is a fabulous resource. Look into the Pharos Project. The Living Building Challenge has its famous Red List. Perkins+Will uses its precautionary principle. Read about ASTM’s environmental product declarations. And check out the long list of firms and manufacturers on the HPD Collaborative’s website that have already signed on.
So do this: If you signed the AIA 2030 Commitment, you have or will produce a Sustainability Action Plan. Update it. Add a section called “Health Product Declaration”. Make it a goal to write a letter from your firm (like this one from Cannon Design) stating that you will only specify (and only keep in your library and only accept lunches from!) companies that provide an HPD. End of story.
You’ll be among friends!
I was in Denver last week for the 2013 AIA Convention. Denver’s a great town. Lively, walkable downtown, excellent public transit and some pretty interesting buildings. I recommend David Adjaye’s Museum of Contemporary Art up in Lodo near the Cherry Creek Trail. Nice. Libeskind’s DAM? Been there, seen that.
But enough with the travel tips. One reason I go to the AIA Convention is to see Kelly Pickard’s presentation on the state of the AIA 2030 Commitment. In it, she unveils the AIA 2030 Annual Report with the aggregated designed energy use data for all the AIA firms that have submitted their compliance scores. It’s a field day for data wonks. But this year, instead of leading off with bar charts, Kelly began by introducing something new.
Since 2008, the AIA COTE and the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) have teamed up to fund the AIA/AIAS COTE Research Fellowship. Last year’s recipient, Megan Turner, an M. Arch student at Cal Poly Pomona, produced a pretty fabulous study called “AIA 2030 Commitment Case Studies: Studying the Experiences of Participating Firms.” And since that just so happens to be what this blog is about, she had my full attention.
Five firms graciously volunteered to participate in Ms. Turner’s project, and they formed an excellent sample set: small firms Serena Sturm Architects in Chicago and High Plains Architects in Billings, Montana, Miller Hull Partnership from Seattle (the 2003 AIA Firm of the Year), a big multi-office regional firm from the west called HMC Architects, and the largest AE firm in the USA, the interplanetary HOK.
You should absolutely download and read this document. The “lessons learned” were heartening and refreshingly familiar. All the firms were concerned about under-performance, challenged to make a clear business case to their clients and staffs, and constrained by what they perceived as the extra work of compliance reporting. The average pEUI reduction for the five firms was very good. At 45.9%, it was better than the Commitment’s 2011 average of 34.6% but still behind the AIA 2030 target of 60%.
But my favorite part of Ms. Turner’s report? Her very well-substantiated analysis (OK, I used to teach a writing class, I’d give her an “A”) of the common challenges faced by all five companies. Claiming that these types of challenges are typical to any organization trying to make strategic change, Ms. Turner’s primary reference was the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath.
Now I’m sure this book is worth a read, but personally, I’m done with the business-leadership-change-agent genre. Peter Senge’s work resonated with me. Built to Last, Collins and Porras? Liked it. Donella Meadows’ “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System”? Committed to memory. My friend Barbra Batshalom recently quoted John Kotter’s eight stages of organizational transformation in her blog. It’s all seriously important and fascinating stuff, but my brain can only retain so much.
But a phrase that Ms. Turner pulled from Switch clicked with me: “Shrink the Change”.
To shrink the change is to make it incremental. One of Kotter’s eight stages involved celebrating “short term wins”. Meadows wrote about creating “positive feedback loops”. It all makes sense. To lead an organization through any purposeful change, you need to establish metrics along the way so people will know that they are going in the right direction. That their efforts are producing results.
Sitting in that seminar room in Denver, I came to a realization. Frankly, I had been under a bit of a cloud since learning that my firm’s AIA 2030 Commitment numbers for 2012 were no better than our 2011 scores. Clearly, we needed to do something differently. But instead of looking at the seemingly insurmountable gap between where Bergmeyer’s work was now (maybe 35% better than baseline) and where we needed to be by 2030, the key for us was to set interim goals. I did some quick math. If we could improve our designed EUIs and LPDs by only 4 or 5 percent per year, we’d make it.
Little improvements lead to big changes. We don’t have to get our projects to zero fossil fuel consumption all at once. If we can shrink the change, the change will seem more achievable. I left the seminar early (so many parties, so little time), but re-energized.
Urban bike sharing companies like Hubway and CitiBike are all over American cities. Zipcar is so widely visible it’s almost a generic term. For vacationers, “Aribnb” has taken couch-surfing to a whole new level. Have you heard of NeighborGoods yet? Got a ladder? Need a ladder? How about Sidecar? “Share a ride with someone awesome”. This idea has traction.
Here’s something else you can share: Your firm’s AIA 2030 Commitment reporting data.
I got a letter from myself the other day. Dated May 28, 2013, it began “Dear Michael” and was signed “Sincerely, Mike Davis FAIA.” (This sometimes happens when you’re BSA President.) This letter from the Boston Society of Architects was sent to every BSA member firm that signed the AIA 2030 Commitment. Its message was simple: please give us a copy of the recently-completed project energy use spreadsheet that you sent to the AIA. Your firm got one of those letters, too. We want your data.
Why? That’s the point of this blog. The AIA 2030 Commitment is the single most useful program out there to help architects improve their projects’ designed energy efficiency, and I’m trying to persuade everyone I know to sign it and complete the annual report.
We all want to do the right thing: reduce the climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions caused by building energy use. We’re all on board with Architecture 2030’s goal of making buildings carbon-neutral by the year 2030. But, really, we can debate the matter of how buildings achieve carbon-neutrality until the polar ice caps melt. And most of us have businesses to run and clients to serve. The implications of transforming our practice are considerably beyond most of our grasps.
That’s where the AIA 2030 Commitment comes in. It provides us – hard-working architects in corporate practice – with useful energy-use metrics (PEUI and LPD) and a rigorous reporting framework that applies to ALL our projects. When you’ve completed your AIA 2030 Commitment report, the spreadsheet tells the tale. You know exactly where you stand on energy efficient design.
The annual energy use targets set by the Commitment are coordinated with the 2030 Challenge. But yes, they’re hard to hit. My firm, Bergmeyer, hasn’t hit them yet (more on that later). And when someone’s falling short, they don’t want other folks to know. But design is a collaborative process, and climate change is a global challenge. We truly are all in this together.
And besides, we (the Boston Society of Architects) want to help.
If you share your data with us (email a PDF to email@example.com) here’s what we’ll do: We’ll aggregate the EUIs and LPDs from the firms that reply. Then we’ll create a master report that shows how we’re all doing together and share it on the BSA website. Then we’ll promote the heck out of the firms who have participated and create a member-firm support network. This will make more firms want to sign the Commitment and participate, and the great motivational power of enlightened self-interest will help us all improve.
What we WON’T do is divulge any information about individual firms or projects. It’ll all be anonymous. We also promise NOT to share any of your data with those stalkers at the National Security Agency, either. We won’t mine your Gmail of Facebook accounts or record your phone calls. I mean, really. Don’t get me started.
The systems-theorist Dr. Russel Ackoff defined it this way: Data simply exists without any significance. Shared, connected data becomes information. When information is applied to a problem set, it becomes knowledge. And knowledge, as they say, is power. Power – in this case – that could change our practice. Share it with us.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on leadership for the AIA 2013 Convention “blog off”. Seventeen architects contributed, many of the posts were rather good. In ways that I don’t quite understand, our collective musings will contribute to the Convention theme.
In one post, Doug Wignall, an architect from Nebraska, trotted out Whitney Young, Jr.’s famous quote chastising the attendees of the 1968 AIA Convention. I was in 6th grade at the time and couldn’t attend. I suspect Doug wasn’t there either, but Mr. Young was reported to have addressed the opening plenary by saying:
“. . . you are not a profession that has distinguished itself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights . . . you are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.”
I have no reason to doubt Mr. Young’s assessment, but this quote has stuck in my craw since I first read it. And later, at the 2000 AIA Convention in Philadelphia, (I was in attendance that year) Andrew Young took up the charge again, challenging architects to do something – anything – to help fight poverty: in his view, the root cause of crime and racism. I left Philadelphia scratching my head. What can architects do about things like civil rights and poverty?
At the time, I figured that “green building” was the greatest good architects could do. Environmentally responsible design? Sounded pretty noble to me. And as I came to understand green building as part of sustainability – the whole three-legged-stool thing – I could appreciate architecture’s role in environmental stewardship and economic viability. But again that third leg – social equity – seemed out of reach. Those admonitions from famous American civil rights leaders would just have to go unanswered.
Hence the concern: my architecture firm has signed the AIA 2030 Commitment. We’re working hard to drive down our buildings’ energy use and reduce the production of atmospheric greenhouse gasses that are destabilizing the world’s climate. This work benefits everyone, right? So what’s the big deal if we can’t address social equity directly?
But we can. And should.
A community is not sustainable when prosperity is not equally shared. The fundamental purpose of buildings (and interior spaces) is to facilitate human prosperity. A lot of people benefit from what we do; those people are usually our clients. But we can use our design talents so that members of our community who don’t or can’t normally benefit from our projects can prosper as well.
Call it social sustainability. Here are a few examples:
Active Design: Active design means thinking about how the buildings and spaces we create can encourage physical activity. Last week, I spoke at “Fit City Boston”, a one-day summit hosted by the BSA with the Boston Public Health Commission. We learned that obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma are at epidemic levels in the USA. The sedentary lifestyle of urban dwellers is partly to blame, and neighborhoods with limited access to useable public open spaces are particularly vulnerable.
These diseases are ravaging our at-risk neighborhoods. Active design is part of the social sustainability solution.
Universal Design: The things we design must be useable to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, ability or status in life. It’s a fact. The attractive, prominent stairs and cycle tracks and jogging paths that active design promotes are great, but not all of our fellow citizens can use them. And since 11.5% of Massachusetts residents are disabled in some way and 19.2% of Bostonians are over age 55 (this blogger included!), this is not a small segment of our community.
Design that excludes people based on their physical capabilities is inequitable and therefore not sustainable. Universal design is also part of the social sustainability solution.
Public Interest Design: Many of the people who could benefit the most from the prosperity-boosting effects of design either don’t have access to architects or can’t afford to hire them. When architects donate their time and energy to serve under-resourced communities and engage a project’s users in the design process, it’s called public interest design. Sam Mockbee – perhaps the godfather of this movement – put public interest design on the map in the 1993 with the Rural Studio at Auburn University. This big umbrella concept now includes the work of many organizations we already know such as Architecture for Humanity, MASS Design Group, Design Corps, and the BSA’s own Community Design Resource Center.
Promoting social sustainability. It’s what public interest design is all about.
There you have it. None of these ideas will help you meet your AIA 2030 Commitment energy use reduction goals. But they will help you make the world a better place.