Sustainable Design

Seattle’s progressive stance on energy can be advanced through closer relationships with policy makers and code officials.

Our Priorities for High Performance Building

  • Create consistent, progressive energy codes to achieve 2030 Challenge goals
  • Explore the use of performance based code
  • Make high performance buildings pencil out through carbon taxes or caps
  • Promote materials transparency

Ongoing Projects

Zero Net Carbon Buildings
AIA Seattle is a founding member of Shift Zero, an alliance of green building organizations working to fight climate change by rapidly increasing the adoption of zero net carbon buildings.

Carbon Pricing
Truth in energy pricing – through a carbon tax or cap and trade – helps our members’ clients make the right sustainable design decisions pencil out. AIA Seattle works with our colleagues across the state of Washington to explore carbon pricing as a mechanism for incentivizing better buildings and creating opportunities for architects. Carbon Pricing Talking Points.

AIA Seattle endorsed two ballot measures aimed at taxing carbon: I-1631 in 2018 to establish a carbon fee, generate funds to invest in renewable resources and promote energy efficiency; and I-732 in 2016, a plan to tax carbon emissions at their source over 40 years. Both we defeated by voters.

Materials Matter
AIA Seattle launched an intensive professional education program, Materials Matter, in fall 2016. Season 2 ran June – August 2017.

The AIA+2030 series was created by AIA Seattle in 2010 to build architects’ skill sets to meet aggressive building performance standards. The series has now been offered in more than 25 cities nationwide and is available online through AIA University.

Getting to Zero
A successor to AIA+2030, Getting to Zero, takes high performance building skills training towards a carbon neutral future.

Seattle Energy Code
AIA Seattle members are assisting the City in revising and updating Seattle energy codes to be the best in class.

AIA Publications

I-1631 Endorsement, May 2018
AIA letter to Mosley on Seattle City Light CEO Search, March 2018
AIA letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan on climate, February 2018
AIA Seattle reaffirms commitment to combating climate change
AIA National: Where we Stand – Climate Change
Issue Brief: Carbon Pricing
AIA Seattle Issue Brief: Yes on I-732


Carbon Pricing Discussions in Olympia, January 2017


  • Join AIA Washington Council’s Climate Committee. Contact Kirsten Smith for more information.
  • Join Architects Advocate to support policies to mitigate climate change

External Resources

Shift Zero: Zero Net Building Carbon Building Alliance
Sightline Institute | Series: Cascadia Climate Action
Limiting Carbon Pollution through Washington’s Clean Air Rule
Carbon Tax Center
Architecture 2030
Climate Solutions
Carbon Washington
Healthy Materials Collaborative
Six Classes | and overview of six class of chemicals that architects need to know
GreenScreen | Hazard Assessment Tool

More Information

For additional information on AIA Seattle public policy priorities and activities; to share your views as an AIA Seattle member, contact Manager of Policy & Advocacy Kirsten Smith.


State Advocacy

AIA Washington Council is hard at work for you, promoting legislation on green buildings and livable places, supporting a sustainable state economy, and protecting your ability to practice architecture. Learn more at

National Advocacy

The AIA represents the interests of architects before federal government and policy-making bodies. This outreach, coupled with sustained member participation and active involvement in the political process, enables the AIA to advocate on behalf of legislative, regulatory, and related issues important to AIA members. Learn more at

Design in Public

SDF 2019 Balance

Seattle Design Festival 2019: Balance

August 6–25, SDF will connect designers, community members and civic leaders to explore how we design for Balance. Read more


  • This month in state and local advocacy: ADUs all the time! Also: Fort Lawton and Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda's ap… PM Jun 21st