Do You Have 2030 Commitment Issues? by Positive Energy

To support the 2030 Challenge, the American Institute of Architects created the 2030 Commitment Program, aimed at transforming the practice of architecture to respond to the climate crisis in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project-based, and data-driven. Over 400 A/E/P firms have adopted the 2030 Commitment, and firms from all over the country have been tracking and reporting projects since 2010, with over 2.7 billion ft2 of project work reported in 2016 alone. Join Kristof as he interviews Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning as they discuss the 2030 Commitment and all topics in-between.

Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, LEED BD+C

Nathan Kipnis

Founder & Principal, Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Nathan Kipnis has spent his career practicing and promoting the importance of sustainability and energy efficiency in architectural design. A life-long interest was initially sparked during the 1973 energy crisis, and Mr. Kipnis designed his first solar home, located in Boulder, CO, when he was just 22 years old.

Master of Architecture  |  Emphasis: Energy Conscious Design - 1985
Arizona State University, Tempe

Bachelor of Environmental Design - 1983
University of Colorado, Boulder

AIA National 2030 Commitment Working Group - 2014 to current (Co-chair 2018-2019)
AIA Chicago 2030 Commitment Working Group - 2010 to 2016 

Citizens Greener Evanston
Board of Directors - 2010 to 2014
Renewable Energy Task Force - 2008 to current

The architectural work designed by Mr. Kipnis has been widely published both locally and nationally.  

Selected awards and distinctions include:
2015 - Elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. 
            The award is given to those who have made significant contributions to the profession and society on a national level.
2011 - Chicago Magazine Green Award
2009 - Home of the Decade, Natural Home Magazine
1999 - Green Homes for Chicago
            A KAP design was selected for this international design competition and built.

"He is one of Chicago's new breed of up-and-coming architects, who blends excellence in architecture with a social conscience. Before the advent of air conditioning, before electricity, everything that was built related to nature. Nate understands that. He made a habit of it long before it was fashionable.” — Stanley Tigerman, FAIA and co-founder of Archeworks.

Viewing the mission beyond his own practice of architecture, Mr. Kipnis’s leadership was instrumental in helping to develop the idea of an offshore wind farm in Lake Michigan off Evanston's shoreline. The work led to a Design Evanston Urban Design/Planning award, and the project is now on the DOE's list of potential offshore wind farm sites. 

Additionally, he currently serves as Co-chair for The National AIA AIA 2030 Commitment’s working groups. In this capacity, he assists architects with the AIA 2030 Commitment, whose goal is to design full Net Zero buildings by 2030. 

Nathan Kipnis also lectures extensively on topics related to sustainable architectural design and renewable energy. He has been an invited speaker at numerous symposiums and conferences, including at national AIA conventions, the Chicago AIA, Archeworks, GreenBuild, The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, the Center for Green Technology in Chicago, and Northwestern University's “Green City Summer Institute,” as well as being one of the keynote speakers at the Mother Earth News Fair, among others.

Recognized as Chicago’s premier award winning sustainable architectural practice, Kipnis Architecture + Planning (KAP)  was founded in 1993 and is based in Evanston, Illinois.  KAP has practiced the architectural design philosophy of 'High Design/Low Carbon™' long before it was in vogue.   They are guided by the idea that architectural design excellence need not be sacrificed for principles of sustainability. Rather, they believe sustainable design expands the possibilities for innovative architectural forms, construction methods and the use of materials. A particular expertise is the architectural integration of passive solar and bioclimatic design. They are early signatories to the AIA's 2030 Commitment, rigorously working towards having their projects be 'net zero' for their energy use by 2030.

Architecture 2030 Challenge

The urban built environment is responsible for 75% of annual global GHG emissions: buildings alone account for 39%. Eliminating these emissions is the key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets. To accomplish this, Architecture 2030 issued The 2030 Challenge in 2006 asking the global architecture and building community to adopt the following targets:

  • 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 country) average/median for that building type.

  • At a minimum, an equal amount of existing building area shall be renovated annually to meet a fossil fuel, GHG-emitting, energy consumption performance standard of 70% of the regional (or country) 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

    • Carbon-neutral in 2030 (using no fossil fuel GHG emitting energy to operate).

These targets may be met by implementing innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable energy, and/or purchasing (20% maximum) off-site renewable energy.

2030 Commitment Program

Join the 2030 Commitment today and become part of a growing network of designers striving to meet the 2030 Challenge targets. Commitment signatories gain access to a host of online tools, educational resources, and mentorship opportunities to support success.

The mission of the AIA 2030 Commitment is to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can more easily work toward carbon neutral buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030.

Joining the 2030 Commitment gives you access to the Design Data Exchange (DDx), a national framework created by AIA with simple metrics and a standardized reporting format for measuring progress. The confidential, easy-to-use DDx lets you pinpoint best practices and anonymously compare project performance in your firm and beyond. The research tool allows you to compare projects of similar type, size, climate, and a host of other attributes across the 2030 portfolio.

Through the 2030 Commitment, you can elevate your practice, save clients money, and combat the effects of global climate change. Explore the resources and articles below to navigate the program.

The AIA+2030 Series

The AIA+2030 Online Series is an educational program aimed at providing design professionals with the high-performance building knowledge necessary to meet the 2030 Challenge targets. Sponsored by Autodesk and delivered through AIAU, the AIA’s online education portal, the highly-rated Online Series is based on the successful AIA+2030 Professional Series that has been offered to over 30% of AIA’s membership in 25 markets throughout the United States.

New 2030 Commitment Signatories get the first course of the AIA+2030 Online Series for free, so join today!

Thanks to our sponsor, Passive House Austin for their generous and continued support of the podcast.

3 Hot Topics Served Crunchy by Positive Energy

What do heat pump water heaters, ERVs, and low static VRF systems have in common? You’re picturing them and we’re talking about them! Join Kristof in a wide-ranging discussion of building science topics with consultant John Semmelhack of Think Little

John Semmelhack

John Semmelhack

John Semmelhack is the owner of Think Little. He is a Certified Passive House Consultant, a member of the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS) Technical Committee, and is a PHIUS Trainer for the Certified Passive House Consultant and PHIUS+ Rater training programs. He sits on the boards of the Passive House Alliance U.S. (PHAUS) and the Passive House Alliance U.S. – Capital Chapter.

John is also a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater, a Technical Advisor to builders in the EarthCraft House Virginia green building program, and a BPI-certified Building Analyst. He is a graduate of the Leeds School of Business (no, not that “LEED”) at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

What Do Spec Homes Dream Of? by Positive Energy

If your house could go down a highway at 70MPH, would you trust your architect and builder to make sure it’s not going to fall apart?

Let’s face it - most people can’t build custom homes just like most people can’t afford a Lamborghini. It’s just not a financial reality for so many of us. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t want a car that doesn’t work well and it doesn’t mean we don’t want a high quality home to live in. It sure as hell doesn’t mean we don’t want a healthy environment for ourselves and our families. So what are the economic drivers of a healthy, high quality, affordable home? Join Kristof as he interviews Ben Broughton about the trends in construction economics, job site processes, market dynamics, and the ins-and-outs of quality.

Ben Broughton


Ben is the Design Build Operations Director for Ames Design Build and oversees the execution of all construction projects. He holds a graduate degree in Construction Science and Management, through which his passion for research resulted in publications in peer-reviewed journals.  He is a building science student who uses his extensive experience in both commercial and residential construction to vertically integrate the land development and high-end residential components of Ames Design Build. Ben is a key driver of the company’s unique business model, which focuses on building to the highest degree of quality while adhering to exacting schedules and budget control in order to ensure success in each Ames Design Build project. Ben rejects the paradigm that you can't simultaneously be on-time, on budget, and achieve high quality.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

What should we have for dinner? The question has confronted us since man discovered fire, but according to Michael Pollan, the bestselling author of The Botany of Desire, how we answer it today, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, may well determine our very survival as a species. Should we eat a fast-food hamburger? Something organic? Or perhaps something we hunt, gather, or grow ourselves? The omnivore’s dilemma has returned with a vengeance, as the cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet confronts us with a bewildering and treacherous food landscape. What’s at stake in our eating choices is not only our own and our children’s health, but the health of the environment that sustains life on earth.

What The Heck Is HOMEChem? by Positive Energy

This week’s episode features an interview with Corbett Lunsford on the HOMEChem experiments that were being conducted alongside the filming of a brand new, building science focused show called Home Diagnosis TV (be on the lookout for that). Of course, we're really excited about the potential of Indoor Air Quality education coming to the masses. It's the future fulcrum point of housing and health care.

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5 Principles Of A Healthy Home by Positive Energy

Health is the new green - this message is seemingly everywhere these days. It's clear that a shift is underway in the way we think about our homes and buildings. A quality building does more than just use energy efficiently, it needs to provide for the occupants. This means recognizing that our clients will spend their time immersed in the air we create for them and that indoor air is a dominant exposure. Now is the time to get clear on how our homes and buildings relate to health, comfort and well-being and, more importantly, what to do about it. 

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The Building Science Podcast Presents: The Build Show by Positive Energy

The Building Science Podcast proudly presents a crossover episode with The Build Show. If you haven’t heard of The Build Show yet, now you have. Matt Risinger of Risinger & Co. has a widely popular YouTube channel that you should check out after you hear this episode. It’s dedicated to building science, fine craftsmanship, and exploring the products and techniques available to builders today.

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Locavore Dirt Construction? by Positive Energy

In this episode of the podcast, we interview Brad King of Earthbound Builders in Austin, TX. Brad is the brains and brawns behind applications of locally abundant, natural, minimally processed, low embodied energy building materials. His company is endeavoring to make natural building materials part of the main stream building processes rather than a custom, "hippie" solution.

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Welcome To The Filtration Station by Positive Energy

Today we talk about one of the most important building science topics that many folks don't know enough about - air filtration. It’s a crucial infrastructure element for a healthy home and good indoor air quality. Who knew there was so many important considerations for this often overlooked and ignored component of our industry?

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Let's Get Legal-ish by Positive Energy

When we think about building science, we're thinking about systems and the unseen forces that contribute to the success or failure of a building. Some of the largest and most complicated systems and unseen forces in the AEC industry are the contracts that make or break a project. Join Kristof as he interviews construction attorney, Joe Basham, on all things funky and legal in the AEC industry.

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Architectural Yogurt by Positive Energy

Put on your microbiology hats, folks. This episode of The Building Science podcast will dive into the great unseen world of microorganisms all around us inside our buildings down to the level of the ecosystems that grow on our HVAC coils. We're truly at a time when the health sciences and the building sciences are becoming more closely related than ever before and the future is a weird, wonderful world of intersectional and interdisciplinary scientific inquiry. Join us as Kristof interviews, Graeme Marsh about the weirdness of biofilms that you can't even see right before your very eyes. 

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Our Homes, Our Health by Positive Energy

It's normal these days to pay attention to what we eat. But what about the steady diet of air we breathe and soak ourselves in?  The impact of homes on health somehow manages to stay below the radar. Even our language is a bit evasive. Why do we say "sick building syndrome"? The buildings aren't sick, the people are. 

This episode is a step toward helping this important topic get some long-overdue and much-needed attention. Join us for an interview with Bill Hayward and Carl Grimes that took place at the 2018 IAQA Conference in Chicago, IL. as we discuss the Hayward Healthy Home Score. We hope you enjoy, take the quiz yourself, and share with your friends and families. 

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