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Letter-to-the-editor Template

Because letters to newspaper editors need to be specifically tailored to a particular article, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Generally, they should be approximately 150 words and whether you are criticizing or praising the coverage there needs to be something additional and tangible that you are trying to build awareness of.

Dear editor,

Re: [insert article title and date]

While the article addressed some key points about [insert main topic], I wanted to make your readers aware that [insert applicable point(s)]. Any discussion of energy efficiency (or environmental concerns) should include information on the environmental impact of homes and buildings.

[Insert key talking points from list below]

To this end, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has partnered with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and National Association of Counties to reverse this trend with a plan to reduce the use of fossil fuels in buildings by 60 percent in 2010, and 10 percent more every five years until we reach full carbon neutrality by 2030.

[Conclude with a legislative “call-to-action” or promote relevant upcoming AIA event or initiative]


[insert name]

Executive Director or President

[insert local chapter] of The American Institute of Architects

Green Building Initiative Talking Points

    • The common assumption is that pollution from cars and factories are the leading cause of global warming – but the true sleeping giant is the built environment

    • Buildings account for nearly half (48%) of all greenhouse gas emissions – far more than transportation (27%) and industry (25%)

    • Buildings also account for 76% of all electricity generated at power plants

    • It is estimated that by 2035 75% of all buildings will be either rebuilt or undergo massive renovations – this is both a tremendous opportunity to employ green (eco-friendly) design principles on a wide scale, and a dangerous proposition if such principles are NOT made a priority

    • Buildings have a life span of 50 – 100 years, and if current trends continue – annual energy consumption will increase 37% and greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 36% over the next 20 years

    • The AIA and (insert city) are committed to reversing this trend by setting a goal to reduce the use of fossil fuels in buildings by 60% in 2010 and to reach full carbon neutrality by 2030

KEY TAKEAWAY: The design of more energy efficient buildings is a crucial step in addressing dangerous global warming and through this initiative – eco-friendly design will become the norm rather than the exception


    • Develop incentives to encourage green building design / construction

    • Communities invest in public transit options and walkable neighborhoods

    • Share best practices of leaders (green cities)

    • Highlight cost-benefits of sustainable design (approximately 0 – 2% average cost increase for green building, lower operating and utility costs = 20-1 return on invest over lifespan of building)


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