Architects face data, culture gaps in fighting climate change

New study outlines how building product manufacturers can best support architects in climate action.

WASHINGTON – Nov. 17, 2020 – A new study published today by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) finds that data and culture gaps are obstacles architects are facing in fighting climate change.

The report, Sustainability in the Architect’s Journey to Specification, identified a number of common obstacles that could be improved by the building products industry to help architects support climate action, including:

  • Supplying useful, timely, and accurate product information and data.
  • Reducing barriers—primarily high costs–to products to increase adoption of sustainable products, especially as clients are increasingly concerned about sustainability being too cost-conscious in the short term.

In other findings, nearly all architects said third-party testing or certification is crucial for new product adoption. Architects also indicated that continuing education from building product companies is the most convenient way to learn about new products and innovations.

“Architects are increasingly motivated to commit to climate action and evolve the built environment,” said 2020 AIA President Jane Frederick, FAIA. “Our members have an important role to play, but they cannot do it alone. Everyone in the design and building product industry must do their part, and that means more than just making materials that contribute to sustainability. Informed product and material knowledge is essential, if we are going to succeed. Committing to innovation is essential.”

Sustainability in the Architect’s Journey to Specification is available on AIA’s website.  

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.

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