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A new AIA report points to cost and culture as main barriers to building sustainably – ArchPaper

Cost, lack of buy-in from teammates, a focus on performance, and personal biases all influence whether architects build with an eye towards sustainability.

(Martin Reisch/Unsplash)
(Martin Reisch/Unsplash)


Looking to build sustainably but don’t know where to start? Want to specify carbon-neutral components but afraid they’ll get value-engineered out of the project? According to a new report from the AIA, these are some of the largest hurdles architects face in trying to integrate sustainable materials in any given project.

In the newly released Sustainability in the Architect’s Journey to Specification report, available for free on the AIA’s website, the institute surveyed architects on what they saw as the biggest obstacles to building sustainably in real-world conditions. The report is the fourth in the AIA’s series of “Architect’s Journey to Specification” studies; the first, in 2016, sought to understand AIA members’ general attitudes towards specifying sustainable materials; the second, in 2018, examined the gap between architects and suppliers, and the third, in 2019, again asked members about their attitudes towards sustainable building and benchmarked the change from 2016.

It seems that some of the biggest challenges to actually using materials architects consider sustainable lies not with desire to do so (79 percent of architects said they wanted to specify more sustainable materials), but in the cost—and convincing the clients of the merits. A whopping 81 percent of respondents said that when specifying a product, the performance was their top concern, while only 37 percent said that end-of-life disposal (or reuse) was something they considered. Thus, manufacturers and architects looking to pitch sustainable products to their clients could shift more towards real-world performance benefits.

Read on >>>> Source: ArchPaper A new AIA report points to cost and culture as main barriers to building sustainably

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