Client Impact

Dominique Davison / June 30, 2017

There’s Value in Less

Like you, I constantly strive to deliver more value to my clients. According to a recent industry survey, 72% of respondents anticipate increased investment in energy efficiency or renewable energy in the next year. The drivers for this are many: lower building operating costs, marketing value, tenant demand, and regulation are just a few.

Responding to this demand is costly and slow.
Energy modeling, third-party certification, and specialized consultants all account for increasing complexity of teams, paperwork, and ultimately a higher cost for the client. Not only that, but they take time to complete that in some cases can’t keep up with the design process. This is evident in the fact that only US 366 architecture firms (1.7% of the total) have taken on the 2030 Commitment. I believe if the benefits of sustainability were transparent and straightforward to market and report, the profession would see increased adoption of the 2030 Commitment and other performance-oriented initiatives.

The industry needs a simpler, faster way to deliver value.
The ability to differentiate yourself in terms of building performance is key as market forces and regulation push the industry toward more efficient buildings. This isn’t only necessary to win a project, but to see it through. Because the first 20% of design decisions can affect up to 80% of a project’s life-cycle costs, it’s essential that we have analytics that keep up with the fast pace of the early stages of design. This helps the designer and client identify winning strategies not only in terms of performance, but also the drivers of increased energy efficiency investment mentioned above. Not only that, but by clearly establishing targets, early analytics can keep all teams aligned.

Don’t forget everything else!

I’ve written a lot about energy, and with good reason—almost half of all energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the United States comes from building operations. There’s enormous opportunity for our industry to address these challenges, and a larger proportion of firms have responded to the AIA 2030 Challenge, which includes energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. If we look again to the AIA 2030 Commitment, which also includes other measures including water usage, participation drops to an abysmally low 1.7% of the industry. There’s value to be delivered on more fronts, including storm water management, parking, and other transportation issues. In order to identify all value-generating opportunities for our clients and holistically reduce the strain of the built environment on our natural resources, we need to address a wider range of challenges moving forward.

I believe we can do it. If the industry is able to set goals and align itself accordingly, we have the power to address an enormous range of challenges that benefit our clients and, ultimately, every stakeholder from individuals in the local community to the entire planet.