Progressive AE Joins the AIA 2030 Commitment

We recently announced that our firm has joined the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) 2030 Commitment to combat the effects of climate change. With today’s buildings generating nearly 40% of annual global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it is imperative the AE industry prioritizes sustainable design. By 2060, it is estimated that global building floor area will double by adding 2.4 trillion square-feet, leaving architects an enormous opportunity and responsibility to transform the built environment. A shift in our practice needs to occur to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and contribute to mitigating climate change.

The AIA created the 2030 Commitment program in 2006 to reshape the practice of architecture and respond to the climate crisis through project-based, data-driven results. The challenge’s call to action is that all new buildings, developments and major renovations to be designed to meet a fossil fuel, greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 80% below the regional or country average for that building type in 2020, 90% in 2025, and reaching carbon-neutrality in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

The Urgency of this Commitment
There has always been a need to protect our environment and preserve resources for future generations. With continued data and research available about our effect on the environment, particularly from the industrial revolution to today, the need for sustainability has become increasingly important and the sense of urgency is at its highest level.

In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) created the First IPCC Assessment Report to highlight the importance of climate change. Since then, approximately every five years they release a new report which is fed directly into international policy making. The latest data from the Sixth Assessment Report determined that getting to carbon neutral by 2030 is too late. To achieve the pursuit of the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep planetary warming below 1.5°C, all new buildings and major renovations must be designed to be carbon neutral today. Therefore the 2030 Commitment and carbon neutral buildings are absolutely critical.

Our Commitment to Sustainable Design
Progressive AE has always held a sense of sustainability within our design practice but starting in 2019 the firm began to reflect on where we are now and how we can improve. We have designed net-zero projects, LEED certified buildings, employed principles of circular economy to reduce material use, conducted energy modeling and assessments, and established water conservation measures. Through this reflection process, we began to look at our own design process and re-educate ourselves.

As a firm, we have a mission to drive performance through design. We embrace an integrated design approach which facilitates research, aspirational thinking, and alignment towards an understanding of success. By committing to the AIA 2030 Challenge, Progressive AE will bring a common language across discipline integration, positioning us to guide clients in combating climate change and making long-term business decisions impacting their facilities. Not only will we collect our own project data, but we will contribute to and gain access to building data throughout our industry – enabling us to benchmark and track progress. This is the first step toward environmental leadership in our industry.

About Progressive AE-
Progressive AE has provided innovative and sustainable architectural and engineering services for more than 50 years. Our work is guided by a fundamental and forward-thinking philosophy that spaces and environments should serve as strategic contributors that drive
organizational change. The firm’s success has been achieved through a workforce that is a unique blend of creative people who think strategically, and strategic people who work creatively. Progressive AE is a privately held, employee-owned company based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Charlotte, North Carolina that practices throughout the United States. For more information, visit