Two years ago, the AIA introduced the 2030 Commitment Program, a voluntary initiative in which AIA member firms pledge to make multiyear action plans and implement steps to advance the goal of producing carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030. Within six months of joining the commitment, firms agree to implement a minimum of four operational action items to reduce the negative environmental impact of firm operations. In addition, firms were asked to submit assessments of their design work over the course of 2010, and the results are now detailed in a new report.

Measuring Industry Progress towards AIA 2030 Carbon Reduction Goal was released at the AIA National Convention in New Orleans in May, and includes data from 56 firms (a 48 percent response rate from the 125 firms that the AIA estimated would report progress for 2010). In total, work from the 56 firms accounts for nearly 385 million gross square feet. Among the findings:

• Firms reported a combined average of 35.1 percent predicted energy use intensity (PEUI) reduction from the national Energy Use Intensity (EUI), the basic unit for analzying energy use in buildings that is measured in kBtu per square foot per year. The numbers reported were based on site EUI, meaning they did not include energy used in electricity generation, transmission, and storage.

• The largest PEUI reduction reported by one firm was 70.6 percent, while the smallest PEUI reduction reported was 11.6 percent.

• 58 percent of the gross square footage of projects is currently being energy modeled, and only 38 percent of projects will collect actual data.

• 12.1 percent of active projects (defined as “a project that was in an active design phase during the calendar year,” according to the report), are currently meeting the goal of a 60 precent reduction in energy from the national average.

• In their own offices, 99 percent of participating firms have implemented or are in the process of implementing firmwide recycling policies; 93 percent are implementing or are in the process of implementing policies to shut down computers after hours to reduce energy use; 90 percent have or are in the process of replacing incandescent lamps with fluorescent lamps; 88 percent have changed or are changing their printing policies to address paper consumption; and about 33 percent have implemented a policy to incentivize employees to ride share, bike, or walk to work.

The participating firms will continue to report to the AIA annually and the results will be updated on a two-year time frame.