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Investments in Energy

Last month, the governor of California, Jerry Brown, signed a bill that puts the state on the path of using 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. At a ceremony in Sacramento with legislative leaders, Brown said, “It’s not going to be easy and it will not be immediate, but it must be done.” By taking action to fight climate change, Brown says California is doing the stuff that most of the world is hoping to be able to do someday.

California was already working on producing 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and under the new mandate, will eventually need to obtain all of its electricity from sources such as wind, solar and hydropower. The measure, known as SB100, speeds up the renewable target already in place to 50 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2030.

The next day, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) joined forces with building and design leaders in San Francisco at the Carbon Smart Building Day event to strengthen the industry’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases in the built environment.

2018 AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA, noted that the architectural profession has had success demonstrating building models and technology, but scaling up carbon-smart building practices is the central challenge. “We need elected officials to support policies and programs that incentivize carbon-smart buildings,” he said. “If we’re going to meet our future carbon goals, we’ll need the investment in resources and research today to get us there.”

As part of the association’s efforts to advocate for improved policies and programs, the AIA signed onto the Carbon Smart Building Declaration, which challenges signees to intensify efforts in eliminating greenhouse gas emissions—also known as carbon emissions—in all new buildings by 2030 and all existing buildings by 2050. The declaration also encourages adopting technologies, processes, materials and data that support eliminating or greatly reducing the carbon footprint in the built environment.

Additionally, AIA is partnering with the Smart Surfaces Coalition in its “Stay Cool Save Cash” initiative. The campaign is aimed at educating city leaders about the benefits of implementing cost-effective smart surfaces—such as cool roofs and pavements that reflect light, green roofs and trees, solar panels and porous pavements—that reduce heat and better manage runoff to prevent flooding, while also saving cities money. The coalition’s goal is to recruit 250 cities to adopt smart surfaces as part of their policy by 2023.

AIA is also endorsing the CO2toEE coalition, which calls for changing government policy so that building owners are eligible to receive credit when they reduce carbon emissions after investing in energy efficiency. The initiative ensures building owners receive the benefits of investing in energy efficiency and cutting CO2 emissions.

It’s important to get involved and help lead the way to a cleaner and better environment. Be the change that is needed today.

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