The AIA 2030 Commitment is a challenge set forth by the AIA to its member firms to take a leadership role in reducing the energy consumption and greenhouse gas creation in the buildings they design and operate.
According to AIA, the topic of energy performance has begun to move to the front of all decisions architects make – both how much energy is used by the firm in its daily business processes as well as energy performance of the projects designed within the firm.
The long-term goal is that by 2030, it will be standard practice to design and construct climate neutral buildings – buildings that do not use greenhouse gas emitting energy to operate. AIA Chicago and the Chicago Chapter’s Committee on the Environment support the initiative with educational programming about best practices for a reduction in energy consumption.
So, how can we as precasters help our architect partners? As a PCI Certified Plant and Erector, we know precast/prestressed concrete can contribute to sustainable design in many ways. And the sooner an architect brings a precaster in to the design process, the more benefit. Mid-States attends AIA Conventions in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa to reach out to partners.
Precast concrete is a versatile and durable material. It is produced in a factory and results in virtually no waste. It is produced by highly-trained personnel, under strict quality control measures. Precast concrete can also contribute toward LEED and other green building systems in many ways. According to PCI, it has the most potential to earn points in the materials and resources category because of its use of recycled content. Precast concrete is also generally made from materials that are extracted and manufactured locally.
Once installed, precast offers additional sustainability. For example, because of their durable, low maintenance surfaces, precast concrete panels have a long service life. Additionally, the thermal mass of concrete helps reduce mechanical-system requirements and energy consumption through the building envelope. This results in not only energy savings, but financial savings as well.
Precast also offers fire and natural disaster resistance, air infiltration, indoor environmental quality, minimizes the urban heat-island effect, provides a resistance to noise and is inedible. As precasters, we look forward to assisting AIA in achieving its 2030 Commitment.