Why architects must lead on sustainable design

The AIA is correct that the profession's habits must change, but more radical change is necessary now. Below are six simple but dramatic steps to transform the profession and practice of architecture. If sustainability truly has become mainstream, as the AIA insists, change should not be difficult to achieve.

A call to action

1. Immediately, every organization that gives design awards to architects can begin rewarding only structures that meet at least a minimum standard of sustainable performance.

2. Within six months, every design magazine can begin featuring only buildings that meet at least a minimum standard of sustainable performance.

3. Within one year, every public agency, including federal, state and local governments, can require every project beginning development in that year to meet current targets for the 2030 Commitment.

4. Within two years, every American architecture firm can adopt the 2030 Commitment and meet current targets for all projects begun that year.

5. Within three years, every American licensing agency can require that every architect demonstrate a minimum level of competency around sustainable design in order to maintain a license to practice.  

6. Within four years, every school of architecture can transform its curriculum to ensure that every graduating student is fully trained in the principles and practice of sustainable design.

Building image by Vladitto via Shutterstock.