Sustainability

Learn about AIA’s sustainability efforts at AIA24, including carbon emissions, green practices, conservation, waste management, and building operations.


Solar PV panels on a sustainable building

Prioritizing sustainability at AIA24

As the largest design organization in the world, AIA is leading efforts to transform the day-to-day practice of architecture to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, and equitable built environment.

This ethos informs everything we do, from the events we host to our building renovation, advocacy efforts, and the knowledge, research, and resources we develop and provide to our members.

This year at AIA24 in Washington, D.C., home to AIA’s Global Campus for Architecture & Design, is no exception. Our goal is to host an event that leaves the community around the convention center and the entire city better.

Read on to learn how AIA is prioritizing sustainability at AIA24 and explore a curated list of recommended AIA24 sessions from AIA’s Climate Action and Design Excellence team.

AIA24 Sustainability efforts & initiatives

The AIA Framework for Design Excellence sets the standard for sustainable, inclusive, healthy, and resilient design. We’re using the principles of the framework as a structure to communicate AIA’s climate action goals in partnership with our vendors and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center as we host the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024.

Explore some of our key efforts below.

Reducing the carbon footprint of attendee travel

AIA has planned local transportation and tour logistics to minimize local carbon emissions of attendee travel.

  • 13 of the 30 hotels are within walking distance of the convention center—reducing the need for additional transportation and emissions.
  • Tours prioritize walking and public transportation, which also reduces the need for additional transportation and emissions.
  • Our shuttle service provider, SEAT Planners, will measure the amount of CO2 produced by the shuttles and partner with Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset it.
Promoting sustainable exhibitors

Many AIA24 exhibitors have health and sustainability certifications or demonstrate significant efforts toward sustainable practices and production. For the first time, exhibitors will highlight their commitment to sustainability at the AIA24 Expo. Look for exhibitors with green buttons and be sure to ask them how their products and practices support AIA’s climate action pledge programs such as the 2030 Commitment and A&D Materials Pledge.

Partnerships for conservation & community equity

Attendees can help us make an even bigger impact by donating during event registration to the Potomac River Conservancy, a local organization that safeguards the lands and waters of the Potomac River, as well as other organizations supporting sustainable and equitable communities.

Recycling & waste management

AIA is working with our event partner, Freeman, and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to provide clearly labeled recycling bins and composting options—encouraging responsible waste disposal.

Building operations

Washington, D.C. is the first city in the world to achieve Platinum level LEED for Cities Certification. As the host venue for AIA24, it’s also important that the building meets AIA’s sustainability goals. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is LEED Gold certified, which showcases its resolute commitment to sustainability to staff, visitors, and the local community.

Here are a few features attendees will experience. You can read more details here.

  • High-efficiency bathroom fixtures and lighting devices
  • Low emissions glass to minimize temperature fluctuations
  • Ultra-high-efficiency air filtration
  • Color-coded recycling and single-source haulers
Tracking future impacts

While these sustainability efforts mark a significant alignment with AIA’s climate action goals, we know we have a long way to go and are excited to keep innovating at future conferences! Using this year as a baseline for metrics and gathering feedback from exhibitors and attendees, AIA is setting aggressive goals around sustainable operations—including recycling, water usage, and emissions—that create measurable impacts.

Sustainability education

Design excellence is sustainable, resilient, and inclusive design. Check out the AIA Framework for Design Excellence to learn more about how sustainability, resilience, health, and equity can be integrated as critical aspects of your design process and firm culture.

Then, at AIA24, plan to attend the numerous seminars, workshops, tours, and expo credit sessions on sustainability and climate action.

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few session recommendations from the AIA Climate Action and Design Excellence team. Plus, stay tuned for other activities and activations on the expo floor!

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