Our Actions

What We Do

AIA California recognizes that the planet is in a climate emergency. As experts on the effect of the built environment on climate, we know sustainable strategies can counter this existential threat.

We believe it is incumbent upon the architectural profession to act; to address the grave challenge of climate change, natural resource depletion, and the devastating impacts these conditions have on climate-vulnerable communities. Architects and our organization must take a leadership position in the development of sustainable, resilient, and equitable practices that will lead to a decarbonized viable future for all.

This AIA California policy benefits practice, people, planet. And it, simultaneously, advances economic prosperity.

Our Accomplishments

AIA California incorporates Climate Action in everything we do, from advocacy at state and local levels resulting in clear success in areas such as embodied carbon and electrification; to education that provides members with detailed information about strategies and tools; to practice, through the integration of sustainability goals in the Design Awards program, and more.

  • AIA California was instrumental in the creation of CALGreen, California’s first statewide green building code, which was introduced in 2010. The code sets requirements for energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, and other sustainable aspects in new construction and major renovations.
  • AIA California has helped pave the way to electrification across California, through its support of a coalition that resulted in the adoption of 67 all-electric reach codes by municipalities throughout the state.
  • CALGreen Embodied Carbon – AIA California is leading efforts to reimagine CALGreen, demonstrating the need for and viability of embodied carbon control measures on all large new building projects in California. AIA CA is thrilled to share that in August of 2023 these embodied carbon measures passed with a unanimous vote by the California Building Standards Commission and will go into effect July 1, 2024. This, first-ever-in-the-United States code requirement, is a critical step to avoid the 1.5 degree tipping point. Learn more about the embodied carbon measures in our FAQ.
  • In addition to external advocacy, the AIA California Board of Directors has acted to elevate expertise within the field. We sponsored AB1010, the California state legislative bill passed into law that requires 5 hours of Zero Net Carbon Design mandatory continuing education, in addition to other mandatory requirements, to obtain architecture license renewal in California.
  • Adaptive Reuse Changes – AIA California began shaping the code landscape for existing buildings over four years ago, as reusing existing buildings can address carbon reductions and housing. This year in 2023, AIA CA efforts led to success as the California Building Standards Commission voted to ease barriers to the safe conversion of underused existing commercial buildings by adopting Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) into the 2022 California Existing Building Code (CEBC).

Through this work, our organization continues California’s important role as a climate action leader in the United States.

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