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.