Washington, D.C. – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today commended the Obama Administration’s “Better Buildings” initiative, which calls for making commercial buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade by catalyzing private sector investment through a series of incentives to upgrade offices, stores, schools and other municipal buildings, universities, hospitals, and other commercial buildings.
The President’s initiative comes as some 800 architects are in Washington, D.C. at the AIA’s 2011 Leadership and Legislative Conference, the premier annual gathering for AIA leaders. This year’s theme, DESIGN/VOICES, celebrates and strengthens the role of architects to advocate for stronger, better communities; empower our collective voice; and communicate that design matters.
“We applaud the President’s ‘Better Buildings’ initiative, which mirrors directly what the AIA has been advocating,” said AIA 2011 President Clark Manus, FAIA. “As a profession, architects are already helping make the President’s goals a reality.”
As an example the AIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., has cut electricity use by 50 percent since 2006 through the use of basic energy conservation measures such as installing new lighting and reducing un-necessary hours of operation, Manus said.
Manus added that the AIA, along with the International Code Council, is taking an active role in promoting the adoption of building codes such as the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) that, when adopted by states and municipalities in coming years, will encourage energy conservation and reduce energy bills for building owners nationwide. What’s more, Manus said, the AIA has taken the lead in confronting the fact that commercial buildings account for roughly 40 percent of total energy use and almost 70 percent of all electricity consumed in the United States.
“Because of their leadership role in the built environment, architects are in an ideal position to help implement the President’s initiative,” said Manus. “In order to reach the President’s ‘Better Buildings’ goals, there is a crucial need for design experts to apply their experience, innovations and talents to current practices so that one of the major sources of energy use – the building in which we work – can be addressed.”
“As the President said today, the United States can ‘out-build’ the rest of the world,” said Manus. “And architects are the catalysts for winning that contest.”