Our AIA 2030 Results for 2018

The Green Engineer is an adopter of the Architecture 2030 Challenge(1) as well as a signatory of the AIA 2030 Commitment(2).

This is the second year that we have measured our progress toward the Architecture 2030 Challenge. This year, we have reported and submitted energy data from 81 of our projects that were in a design phase (concept design, SD, DD, or CD) in 2018 to the AIA 2030 Design Data Exchange. These 81 projects combined represent a total of 13,001,076 GSF of building construction.

Fortunately, due to the nature of our work, 79.8% of our 2018 projects have completed energy models. The exceptions are projects in very early design stages as well as some interior fit-outs.

The building use types that represent the greatest number of projects we reported in 2018 include education K-12 schools (28 projects reported), large offices (29 projects reported), medium offices (16 projects reported), multi-family buildings greater than 5 units (15 projects reported), and university buildings (16 projects reported.)

Similar to last year, based on the average predicted EUI3 from the project energy models compared to the Energy Star median EUI per building type, libraries, k-12 schools, and large office buildings performed the best out of all of our project types. Additionally, this year another contender, college dormitories, made its way up the ranks with an average 49% reduction.

2018-pEUI reduction.png

The 2030 Challenge goal for today is 70% predicted EUI (pEUI) reduction. The average pEUI reduction across all of our reported projects in 2018 was 40.5% (which is about the same as last year’s 40.6%). 10 of our reported projects achieved a 70% pEUI reduction or above (1 school, 1 courthouse, 3 libraries, 4 large offices 100,000 sf or greater, and 1 mixed-use project).

2018-pEUI reduction-no of projects.png


Our light power density (LPD) reduction for interior fit-out projects was 38.7%, compared to 37.2% last year, which exceeds the current 2030 goal of a 25% LPD reduction with 100% of our reported projects meeting that goal.

2018-LPD reduction.png

What does this all mean?

We are fortunate that our work at The Green Engineer focuses on sustainable design and energy efficiency, and that Massachusetts - where a majority of our projects are located - is ahead of the curve. That said, there hasn’t been much improvement since last year in our % EUI reduction. Why is that? Many of the projects reported this year are the same projects as last year, just in later design phases, and many new projects are still too new to have an energy model completed. Also, since The Green Engineer reports a large number of projects, it is going to take some big shifts in the industry for the needle to move in our reporting.

The urban built environment is responsible for 75% of annual global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions: buildings alone account for 39%. Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. The 2030 Challenge states that since 2015 all new buildings, developments and major renovations shall be designed to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 70% below the regional (or national) average/median for that building type. The fossil fuel reduction standard for all new buildings and major renovations shall be increased to 80% in 2020, 90% in 2025, and carbon-neutral in 2030 (meaning that GHG-emitting, fossil fuel energy is not used for operations). (4)

As an industry, we are currently behind schedule to meet our carbon neutral goal by 2030. It is, however, not impossible to catch up. We’ve made some progress: our energy codes are significantly more stringent now, and there are a handful of buildings in our region that are actually operating at net zero energy (see Moving Beyond “Net Zero”: Let’s Decarbonize Our Buildings). It is up to us, as design professionals in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry, to push the needle forward on carbon neutral building design.


What’s Next? Real Feedback.

An important next step is the future integration of the AIA 2030 design phase energy data with post-occupancy feedback data so we can determine if the buildings are performing as designed. This year, in an effort to improve our results and learn from past projects, TGE began an initiative to gather information on how our completed buildings are performing. Energy is the primary focus, but we are also seeking other data as well, such as water use and occupant well-being feedback. These performance metrics will inform our sustainability work going forward. Our pilot project consists of about 20 public K-12 schools and public libraries. We have been collecting real data on actual energy and water use and interviewing facility directors, town/school business managers, and library directors to get general feedback on how well the buildings are performing. So, stay tuned, as we continue to collect data and conduct our analysis.


  1. The 2030 Challenge is an initiative started by nonprofit, Architecture 2030, that calls for all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. The two major objectives of the 2030 Challenge are:  1) to globally reduce  fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the built environment; and 2) to advance the development of sustainable, resilient, carbon-neutral buildings and cities.  

  2. The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment, in turn, is to transform the practice of architecture, with the 2030 Challenge in mind, to prioritize energy performance and carbon reduction strategies during the design process.

  3. Site energy consumption is typically measured as Energy Use Intensity (EUI) in kBTU/SF/year. A building with an EUI of 0 is a net zero project.

  4. Architecture 2030, https://architecture2030.org/2030_challenges/2030-challenge/

By Allison Zuchman and Stephanie Strifert.  

Allison is a Senior Sustainable Design Consultant at The Green Engineer.

Stephanie is an Assistant Sustainable Design Consultant at The Green Engineer.