Environmentally sustainable, community-focused architecture is referred to as “healthy architecture” by designers at Trilogy Architecture (www.trilogyarch.com) in Redding, Calif. Trilogy is one of the newest firms to join the American Institute of Architects’ (AIAs’) 2030 Commitment—or the goal to create buildings that are grid-free by the year 2030.
On behalf of Designer, I sought out Trilogy Principal Architect James Theimer, asking why he hangs his hat and that of his business, which includes custom residential and commercial buildings, churches, schools, and other community projects, on this magnificent vision some 16 years away.
First, Theimer set the tone with this: “In an age of specialization, we like to think of ourselves as generalists…. We believe in community projects, better downtowns and childhood education—we pursue those types of projects, in particular, because we believe that they [present] the greatest opportunity for positive change in our society.”
And then, on specifically why Trilogy joined the AIA’s efforts toward 2030, he explains, “Educating our clients on the importance of sustainability has been a focus of our firm [since] its inception in 1990. As architects, we can have a huge positive impact on our planet by aggressively promoting healthy architecture.”
There is no greater satisfaction than a client who comes to you at a project’s completion and thanks you for pushing them toward a sustainable design, despite their initial misgivings."
I also asked Theimer his advice for like-minded AECs, AVL designers and integrators—Designer readers—who are motivated toward the goal of net zero buildings. What encouragement would he offer, especially to those that work heavily in the faith-based space where talk of environmental sustainability is sometimes met with mixed enthusiasm by church leadership? He simply states, “There is no greater satisfaction than a client who comes to you at a project’s completion and thanks you for pushing them toward a sustainable design, despite their initial misgivings.”
In addition, the best way to educate clients is for architects and other professionals to first educate themselves, Theimer notes. Continuing education courses on sustainability are essential because information on the subject is constantly evolving.
“The only limit to all buildings being grid-free is convincing … our clients that first costs of higher efficiency buildings are financially worth it in the long run,” Theimer closes. No small feat, perhaps. “That, and reducing those first costs as manufacturers get on board with sustainable products and practices, will go a long way [toward] achieving that goal.”
What is your take on the AIA’s 2030 Commitment and similar efforts toward net zero buildings? Designer wants you to join the discussion.
By Carol Badaracco Padgett, Editor, Designer magazine