Architecture 2030

October 31, 2023

What An Architect DoesDecarbonizationEco DesignGreen ArchitecturePassive House ArchitectureZero Energy

Architecture 2030 is dedicated to making buildings part of the solution to climate change, not a big part of the problem, as they currently are. TBDA signed on to the 2030 Commitment in 2016 as way of tracking our progress towards making zero-emissions buildings. The essence of this voluntary program is to report the operational energy of the firm’s projects each year. It sounds simple,  and it is simple if energy modeling is part of the design process; but if a firm isn’t using energy modeling, you have to assume “baseline” consumption, which isn’t great.

As we started doing more Phius, net zero, and deep energy retrofit projects, we realized that the 2030 reduction targets, while ambitious, were totally within reach. From 2010 to 2017, we did many low-energy buildings, including the Chicago region’s first certified Passive Houses. From 2018 on, our portfolio has included mostly smaller low-energy and zero-energy buildings, and a few large zero-energy buildings, so our portfolio (measured by square footage) has met the reduction targets each year since 2018. To put this in context, out of the 428 companies reporting data in 2022, only 19 met the 80% predicted EUI (pEUI) reduction target across their entire portfolio.  TBDA is proud to be one of those 19 firms, and the only one from the Chicago area. Read the report here.

The big message isn’t just that we’re superheroes, but that we CAN build like this today, and we need to do so if we’re to reach our climate goals. We’re doing everything we can to help move the needle on climate change in the building sector, and we’re grateful to Architecture 2030 and the leadership of Ed Mazria to create a forum for accountability and inspiration.