Architects Say Clients Demanding Lower Operating Costs, Fueling Green Building
Autodesk Inc. and the American Institute of Architects have completed an annual survey that measures how AIA member architects are practicing sustainable design. The results of the 2007 Autodesk/AIA Green Index shows that green building has taken a firm hold on the industry and has captured the attention of both architects and their clients. Roughly 70 percent of architects say client demand is the leading driver of green building, and that the primary reason these owners and developers are demanding greener buildings is for reduced operating costs.
Architects are responding by significantly increasing their use of sustainable elements, such as high-efficiency HVAC systems, recycled building materials and using software to model energy usage.
According to the Index, less than half of architects surveyed were incorporating sustainable design practices into their projects five years ago. However, this number is quickly rising with 90 percent of architects expecting to incorporate some sustainable elements by 2012.
The survey also shows that architects are making significant strides to meet their client demand for green building by working to develop their sustainable design skills. Nearly 88 percent of respondents have received training or continuing education focused on green building.
While almost 75 percent of Green Index respondents believe that the building industry is headed in the right direction regarding climate change, and 54 percent believe architects are responsible for developing and implementing solutions to this issue, the survey also shows that there is still significant opportunity for architects to deliver on green building practices. Although 50 percent of architects reported having clients inquire about green building on the majority of their projects, only 30 percent of architects actually implemented green building elements in their projects. In addition, only 10 percent of architects are currently measuring the carbon footprint of their projects.
"We are encouraged that the 2007 Green Index shows a growing number of architects practicing green building," said Phil Bernstein, FAIA, LEED AP, Autodesk Vice President of AEC Industry Strategy and Relations. "Since only 10 percent of architects are currently measuring the carbon footprint of their projects, Autodesk recognizes a need to make this an easier and more efficient process using new and existing technology solutions. We look forward to continued cooperation with the AIA to help architects use technology to design more environmentally responsible buildings."
When asked what green building efforts they expect to adopt in the next five years, over half the respondents said they will be using tools to enable the prediction and evaluation of the environmental impact and lifecycle of the building materials used in their projects; 56 percent of respondents stated they will be using design software to evaluate and explore alternative building materials to maximize energy performance and minimize their environmental footprint.