Climate Action

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AIA Wisconsin advocates for protecting communities from the impact of climate change.

Climate change is everyone’s crisis, and architects are uniquely positioned to help solve it. AIA Wisconsin, the statewide Society of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), calls on architects to support climate action through an unrelenting commitment to sustainable and resilient design.

Climate change and man-made hazards pose an increasing threat to the safety of the public and the vitality of our nation. Rising sea levels and devastating natural disasters result in unacceptable losses of life and property. Resilient and adaptable buildings are a community’s first line of defense against disasters and changing conditions of life and property.

In the US alone, nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gases can be attributed to carbon produced by buildings during construction and everyday heating, cooling, and lighting. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the degradation of natural resources are a direct result of increased carbon levels, which threaten national security and global economies. They disrupt the balance of ecosystems and undermine public health. They threaten to transform our planet irreparably and compromise our future.

Designing and constructing buildings that diminish greenhouse gases are architectural imperatives. Designing and constructing buildings that support health, safety, and welfare are ethical imperatives. In short, designing and constructing buildings that can combat the greenhouse effect will improve our chances of repairing our planet while creating a healthy, resilient, and regenerative future.

As a profession, architects have the responsibility to prioritize and support effective actions to exponentially decelerate the production of greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Our goal, as set forward by AIA and partners like Architecture 2030, is net-zero emissions in the building sector by 2050.

Architects work to help reduce operational and embodied greenhouse gas production with passive design techniques, employ energy efficiency measures, adapt existing buildings, and specify low-impact building materials that increase human health and productivity while withstanding the effects of a changing climate.

It is the architect’s responsibility to make the business and financial case to clients to help them better understand and support the need to integrate renewable energy sources into all buildings, making them more sustainable, resilient, and economical.

AIA Wisconsin advocates for policies that promote resilient design and dynamically curtail buildings’ harmful impact to the climate.

Climate action requires changes to public policy targeting existing commercial and residential buildings, and a mandate for higher standards in future construction. In the US, approximately 95 percent of all buildings are more than a decade old. Of all US commercial buildings, 82 percent were built before 2000, prior to modern versions of building energy codes governing their design and construction. AIA Wisconsin advocates to build support for policies that increase all buildings’ ability to withstand extreme weather, perform efficiently, use renewable energy, and decrease reliance on fossil fuels. AIA Wisconsin advocates for robust building codes and policies that make our communities more resilient. Finally, AIA Wisconsin supports the use of historic preservation tax credits to promote the reuse of safe buildings and reduce the carbon footprint of new construction.

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With over 1,600 members, AIA Wisconsin represents architects in private practice, business, industry, government and education, as well as interns, allied professionals and students. Our mission is to serve members, advance their value and improve the quality of our built environment.  

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